Stop and Search Awareness

The Stop and Search Experience


The unhealthy relationship our community have with the police has existed for many years. George Floyd was killed by police officers in the USA and we know of many other Brits who have died at the hands of police brutality including Joy Gardner, Jimmy Mubenga and Trevor Smith adding to the mistrust of the police.

Stop and search is one of the powers exercised disproportionately that has caused the mistrust. We felt strongly that we needed to tackle this head on through education. Not only do we need to educate our youth and community but everyone if we are to encourage police best practice and raise champions or advocates within our communities to challenge police wrongdoings.

Marking George Floyd Day

The first workshop was launched to mark our first anniversary and George Floyd Day, 25th May, at Queen Mary’s College. The day was successful and covered by local media and the BBC.

Two workshops will be run each year. One regional conference in April and the other locally in October.

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.

You should not be stopped just because of your age, race, ethnic background, nationality, faith, spoken language or because you have committed a crime in the past.

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
  • gloves

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.


Public View
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 to educate our youth and community to foster better cohesion and break 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

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