Policy Details

Stop and Stop & Search

Dated: 07 Jul 2016

NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED

POLICY TITLE: Stop and Stop & Search

OWNING DIRECTORATE: Criminal Justice and Communications

CONTACT DETAILS: Chief Inspector, Southern Area Command

EQUALITY IMPACT ASSESSMENT: Complete

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

AIM OF POLICY: The primary purpose of Stop and Stop & Search is to enable officers to allay or confirm suspicions about individuals without exercising their power of arrest. Northumbria Police will ensure Stop and Stop & Search powers are used fairly, responsibly, with respect for people being stopped or stopped and searched, and without unlawful discrimination.

BENEFIT OF POLICY: To assist officers in their duty to prevent and detect crime by being proactive in their efforts to prevent and detect crime; deterring offenders from committing crime for fear of discovery and gathering intelligence.

REASON FOR POLICY: Northumbria Police recognises that when police officers exercise their powers to stop and stop and search, they will inevitably infringe on peoples rights and freedoms. It recognises its positive duty under Articles 5, 8 and 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998 and that to justify using powers that infringe these rights, actions must be lawful, necessary and proportionate.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Northumbria Police is committed to ‘delivering an outstanding service to our communities’ using the force Proud to Protect Vision, Mission and Values and the Police Code of Ethics to underpin all of our service delivery and decision making.

Northumbria Police Proud to Protect Mission:

  • Proud of what we do & Proud of who we are


Northumbria Police Proud to Protect Values:

  • Proud to Serve
  • Proud of our People
  • Proud to Improve
  • Proud to Lead


Code of Ethics Nine Policing Principles:

  • Accountability
  • Fairness
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Leadership
  • Objectivity
  • Openness
  • Respect
  • Selflessness


'Stop & Search' is when an officer stops and detains a member of the public and / or their vehicle, and subsequently physically searches them and / or their vehicle. This also applies to unattended vehicles. Officers can only carry out a search if they have a legal power to do so.

Northumbria Police will undertake and record all police 'Stop & Search', in accordance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) Code A.

A police 'Stop' (also known as an Encounter) takes place "when an officer requests a person in a public place to account for themselves i.e. their actions, behaviour, presence and possession of anything".

There is no national requirement to record 'stops' or issue a receipt to a person subject of the stop, however, receipts in the form of a completed CID 88 will still be provided to any person subject of a 'stop', and the facility to record will remain should officers choose to use it.

The primary purpose of Stop and Stop & Search is to enable officers to allay or confirm suspicions about individuals without exercising their power of arrest.

Stop and Stop & Search powers assist police officers in their duty to prevent and detect crime by:

  • reassuring the law-abiding public that the police are being proactive in their efforts to prevent and detect crime;
  • deterring offenders from committing crime for fear of discovery and challenge by a patrolling police officer; and
  • allowing the gathering of criminal and community intelligence in order to effectively direct subsequent police activity.


Northumbria Police recognises its positive duty under the following articles of the Human Rights Act 1998: Article 5, the right to liberty and security; Article 8, the right to respect for private and family life; and Article 10, the freedom of expression. In accordance with this policy, Northumbria Police will ensure Stop and Stop & Search powers are used fairly, responsibly, with courtesy and respect for people being stopped or stopped and searched, and without unlawful discrimination.

To ensure Northumbria Police is fully accountable for its actions, a community complaint will be triggered if there is a significant increase in public concern about the use of Stop & Search. This could include, but not be limited to:

  • A rise in the number of Stop & Search related complaints against Northumbria Police.
    N.B. Every complaint against Northumbria Police in relation to Stop & Search encounters will be considered as a standing agenda item at every set Independent Police Complaints ScrutinyPanel meeting.
  • A significant change in proportionality of those that are subject of Stop & Search.
  • A single event or incident related to Stop & Search activity that is giving significant cause for concern amongst our communities regarding police use of this tactic.
  • Any other issue upon consultation with the Northumbria Police Lead  for Stop & Search.


Following a community trigger, and subsequent scrutiny, all complaints will be allocated to the relevant Local Area Commander and Neighbourhood Inspector for public reassurance via the established and bespoke community contacts and forums.

In order to promote public confidence in the use of these powers, Northumbria Police, in consultation with the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner (OPCC), has made arrangements for Stop & Search performance information to be scrutinised by the Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) on behalf of the community, and to explain the use of the powers at a local level.

Sergeants and Inspectors are responsible for monitoring the practice of officers in stopping, searching and recording to ensure that it is fully in accordance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 Codes of Practice, which set out the statutory requirement for officers in relation to Stop and Stop & Search.

Supervision and monitoring will be supported by the compilation of comprehensive statistical records of Stop & Searches at Force, area and local level. Any apparent disproportionate use of the powers by particular officers or groups of officers, or in relation to specific sections of the community, will be identified and investigated.

This will ensure that duties are undertaken effectively and fairly, with commitment to providing a quality service and upholding the Principles of Professional Policing.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SOURCE DOCUMENT: N/a

GROUPS AFFECTED: All staff

ACCESS AND DISCLOSURE RESTRICTIONS: None

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------