The police have the power to stop and search people only where there are reasonable grounds to do so. There are several laws which allow officers to stop a member of the public and search them – for example, if the search is related to the illegal possession of offensive weapons, controlled drugs, stolen property, or items which could be used to commit crime.
There are many restrictions placed on how the police use the power of stop and search to make sure it is used fairly and effectively manner and that we don’t discriminate against or target certain groups or people.
Every time stop and search powers are used, a record is made and there are processes in place to make sure powers are used in a non-discriminatory way. The time, date and location of each stop search are recorded and monitored to understand where and when we are using the powers.
The grounds the police officer has should be based on facts, information or intelligence, or could be because of the way a person is behaving. There are times however when police officers can search anyone within a certain area, for example:
- Where a terrorist threat has been identified (Section 44 Terrorism Act 2000)
- Where there is evidence that serious violence has taken or may take place (Section 60 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994).
In these circumstances, the use of Section 60 Stop and Search Powers will be authorised by a Chief Officer and only used when serious violence is anticipated. It cannot be used if there ‘may’ be violence, it has to be a credible threat of actual violence occurring.
Scrutiny and accountability
We are committed to ensuring the effective and fair use of these powers, in line with the Home Office Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. Processes have been developed to support the effective monitoring and scrutiny of stop and search activity. Information and data is collated and reviewed by managers to ensure the effective and legitimate use of this power.
This information is also shared with our Independent Advisory Group, made up of members of the community, who provide feedback on any issues identified. Any such matters are referred to senior police managers to consider any further action, and this is reported back to the Independent Advisory Group, ensuring transparency and accountability.
Stop and search data can be accessed via the Data Downloads area of PoliceUK .
Dyfed-Powys Police have one of the highest outcome rates for stop and search activity, and in more cases than not the object searched for is found. Further developments will be made to IT systems to provide greater detail relating to what action is taken following a search where an object is found, in line with Home Office requirements for publication in the near future.
If you have a complaint about stop and search, please let us know.
Each complaint will be reviewed, with oversight reports sent to the chief officer lead for stop and search. Details of the review for each complaint, and information relating to any action taken by the police is also shared with the force Independent Advisory Group.
This leaflet explains what stop and account and stop and search are, and provides a summary of your rights if you are stopped, or stopped and searched.