The Stop and Search Experience
The unhealthy relationship our community has with the police is historical. George Floyd’s murder by police officers in the USA may have been many miles away, but the act of brutality is commonly shared, here in the UK.
Brits who have died at the hands of police brutality include Joy Gardner, Jimmy Mubenga and Trevor Smith.
Stop and search is one of the powers, exercised disproportionately by police, which has historically caused mistrust between the police and Black communities. We felt strongly that we needed to tackle this head-on through education. Not only do we need to empower our youth through education but everyone if we are to encourage and advocate for police best practices and raise champions within our communities who can challenge police wrongdoings.
Our first youth AWARENESS WORKSHOP was launched as part of activities to mark BUAR’s first anniversary and George Floyd Day, 25th May 2021, at Queen Mary’s College. The day was successful and covered by local media and the BBC. The second workshop was held in October 2021 at Basingstoke College of Technology.
To celebrate our second anniversary, we launched the ADVOCATE agenda in partnership with Queen Mary’s College in June 2022. In 2023, we are working with Hampshire County Council’s School Improvement Team and schools to introduce a unit in the school curriculum that will be taught from Years 7 to 9. This means by Year 10, our youth are ready to take part in a face-to-face workshop in partnership with Basingstoke Police who have been instrumental in the success of this project.
Seeing how this has evolved into an excellent working partnership with Basingstoke Police (Hampshire Constabulary) and Queen Mary’s College falls into BUAR’s key objective of forging strong working partnerships. By working with the School Improvement Team at Hampshire County Council, we inch closer to launching the curriculum unit in 2023. This holistic approach will enable us to meet desired outcomes while creating YOUTH CHAMPIONS who will become our future activists.
Our Youth Awareness Workshops
With coverage by BBC South Today, our workshops covered training and captured some of the LIVED EXPERIENCES of some of our youth. It made an uncomfortable listen but it was certainly what was needed so the necessary action can be taken to tackle this,
Know Your Rights
It’s important that you’re aware of your rights and responsibilities in the event of a stop and search. Officers are responsible for making sure that your rights are protected, and, in turn, they expect members of the public to acknowledge their responsibilities and comply with their requests in a reasonable and calm manner.
Being stopped doesn’t mean you’re under arrest or have done anything wrong. A police officer must have a good reason for stopping and/or searching you and they are required to tell you what that reason is.
In some cases, people are stopped as part of a wide-ranging effort to catch criminals in a targeted public place. These powers fall under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, section 60. The officer should explain this to you and must be searching for items to be used in connection with violence.
Know Your Responsibilties
Stop or stop and search must be carried out according to strict rules – the police have the responsibility to ensure that people’s rights are protected.
We all have a civic duty to help police officers prevent crime and apprehend offenders. Being stopped by the police does not mean you are guilty of an offence. It is understandable to feel irritated when you haven’t done anything wrong and can be an inconvenience. The process can be much quicker if one cooperates with police officers.
The police should make the search as brief as possible, however in the interest of public safety they must also be thorough. Here are some key things you should remember:
- don’t refuse to be stopped and/or searched. Officers do not need your permission to go through your belongings. If you refuse, you can be searched using reasonable force.
- this is not a voluntary process – the law gives police the authority to stop and search. Remember to ask (if not told) and know which law is being used.
- don’t be afraid to speak to the officer if you think your rights are being infringed or do not understand something.
The Due Process
A police officer or a police community support officer (PCSO) in uniform can stop you but only police officers can search you. A police officer does not have to be in uniform but they must show you their warrant (ID) card. They can search you, anything you are carrying and a vehicle. So what is the due process police officer should follow during a stop and search?
‘GOWISELY’ is an acronym that highlights which information must be given to an individual when they are being detained for the purpose of a stop and search.
Thorough Search Protocol
Except under section 60AA of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (which empowers a constable to require a person to remove any item worn to conceal identity), public searches are limited. One may be required to remove the following:
- a jacket
- an outer coat
Under paragraph 3.7, Code A states that ‘searches involving exposure of intimate parts of the body must not be conducted as a routine extension of a less thorough search, simply because nothing is found in the course of the initial search’.
In some instances where on reasonable grounds police officers consider it necessary to conduct a more thorough search (e.g. by requiring a person to take off a T-shirt), here’s what you should expect.
this must be done out of public view, for example, in a police van unless it is an intimate search
Same Sex Officer
any search involving the removal of more than an outer coat, jacket, gloves, headgear or footwear, or any other item concealing identity, may only be made by an officer of the same sex as the person searched and may not be made in the presence of anyone of the opposite sex unless the person being searched specifically requests it.
Intimate Parts Search
Searches involving exposure of intimate parts of the body may be carried out only at a nearby police station or other nearby location which is out of public view (but not a police vehicle)
What The Data Says
Hampshire Constabulary Stop and Search Data
Let Us Know About Your Experience
Have you had a bad or great experience?
Let us know.
To make a formal complaint please remember to use the details on the report you are given to do so directly to the police. This will not generate that report.
We simply want to know if your experience was pleasant or otherwise and if we can help in any way to direct you to the right place for any help you may need and us to challenge.
Community Partnerships In Action
The Police Stop and Search Awareness Workshop is successfully run in partnership with Basingstoke and Deane District Police. We are grateful for their support and commitment to fostering better cohesion and breaking down long-standing barriers.
Quarter 1 – April
Quarter 2 – October
Write to us
1 Bessemer Park, Bessemer Road
Basingstoke, RG21 3NB
Phone & Email
07590624355 | 07501446503
This project is funded by Unum Community and Social Justice Fund