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Coronavirus (COVID-19): the policing response and what you need to know

Stop and Search

The police can stop and search people to detect crime and help make our neighbourhoods safe. Searches are only carried out where there are reasonable grounds to do so.

What happens during a stop and search?

Where possible the search will be done out of public view in order to minimise any potential embarrassment from the search.

Officers may:

  • ask to see the contents of your pockets as well as other items you may be carrying, such as a bag.
  • search your vehicle, even if you are not present, but they must leave a notice to say what they have done.

If you are carrying something illegal, such as a weapon, or the police believe you have committed a crime, you may be arrested.

If they do not find anything, a record of the search will be made and you will be offered a stop and search receipt (PDF).

What information will I need to provide?

You do not have to give your name, address or date of birth to the police if you are stopped and searched, unless you are being reported for an offence.

You may be asked to describe your ethnic origin. We ask this so we can monitor the stopping of ethnic minorities and encourage police accountability. It is your choice to give us this information.

What are my rights?

Visit GOV.UK to learn more about police stop and search powers and your rights.

How do I make a complaint?

If you believe you were stopped and searched unreasonably, or you were not treated fairly or with respect, you can complain to:

All stop and search related complaints and their outcomes, will be published on this page anonymously.

Anyone who makes a stop and search related complaint will be considered to take part in our Ride Along Scheme for a chance to increase your understanding of the process and to discuss with officers any questions you may have.

How do I raise a concern about stop and search?

If you have concerns about the way the police are using stop and search in your area, you can raise your concerns to us by requesting a Community Trigger.

The main aim of the Community Trigger process is to find a way for the police and communities to work together to resolve complaints or concerns.

The Independent Scrutiny Panel and the Force Stop and Search Lead will decide whether single complaints will activate the Community Trigger process.

If the local policing area receives more than one complaint over a 3 month period, the Community Trigger process will be activated.

If you want to raise a concern about stop and search within your area, complete our online stop and search form.

Requesting a Community Trigger does not replace the complaints procedure, or your opportunity to complain to your local police station or Independent Police Commission.

How many stop and searches have taken place?

View stop and search statistics for the Avon and Somerset area.

Stop and search data for all forces in the UK is available from

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