Stop and Search – are the police acting lawfully?
New standards and training for police officers conducting stop and search will be rolled out across England. Police officers will be required to take an online course and sit an exam which will test when they should use the stop and search power. It is hoped the training will be completed by all officers and sergeants by the end of 2017.
The training will be introduced due to Government criticism over police use of the searches. There have been reports that the police were six times more likely to stop black people.
In 2015-2016 the number of stop searches fell 28%, with 16% of the searches leading to an arrest.
So when can a police officer stop you?
An officer can stop and search you when they have reasonable grounds to suspect you are carrying; illegal drugs, a weapon, stolen property or something which could be used to commit a crime. However, before you are searched the officer must identify himself, the reason for the search and they can provide you with a record of the search.
If you refuse to be searched, the police can use force to conduct it.
If you are arrested following a search, you are entitled to free independent legal advice at the police station. Emery Johnson Astills offer 24 hour police station advice.
If the police want to ask you any questions under caution in relation to items seized from you on a stop and search, contact Emery Johnson Astills who can attend to assist you.
Emery Johnson Astills have offices based in Leicester, Loughborough and Coalville.