Police powers

Police Officers are allowed to stop you if they wish to find out

  • what you are doing
  • why you are there or where you are going.

You do not have to give an answer.

Can the police stop and search me?

If a police officer believes that you are carrying any of the below items then they must have ‘reasonable grounds’ to stop and search you.

  • illegal drugs
  • a weapon
  • stolen property
  • something which could be used to commit a crime.

What must happen before I am searched?

There is information that a police officer must tell you before you are searched:

  • their name and police station
  • what they expect to find, e.g. drugs
  • the reason they want to search you, e.g. it looks like you’re hiding something
  • why they are legally allowed to search you
  • that you can have a record of the search and if this isn’t possible at the time, how you can get a copy.

Do I have to remove clothing?

You can be asked to remove your jacket or gloves by a police officer. If the police officer asks you to remove more than this, then the police officer has to be the same sex as you.

If the police officer requests that you remove any item that is worn for religious reasons, such as a turban or veil, then they must take you away from public view.

Useful documents

Parents and Young Persons guide to stop and search

How to record any police interaction on your phone/camera

Encourage people to download the Y-Stop App

Guide to making a complaint

Know your rights

Useful organisations

Youth Justice Legal Centre

Just for Kids Law