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Fair and effective Stop Search

The Police are improving the way they administer, monitor and record the use of Stop and Search. Officers have been provided with awareness sessions and information on fairness and effectiveness.

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

Officers may be required to justify the use or authorisation of such powers, in relation both to individual searches and the overall pattern of their activity in this regard, to their supervisory officers or in court.

There are a number of laws which give powers to officers to stop and search a person or vehicle without having to arrest them.

A police officer has powers to stop and search you if they have ‘reasonable grounds’ to suspect you’re carrying:

§ Illegal drugs

§ A weapon

§ Stolen property

§ Something which could be used to commit a crime, eg a crowbar

You can only be stopped and searched without reasonable grounds if it has been approved by a senior police officer.

This can happen if it is suspected that:

• serious violence will take place

• you’re carrying a weapon or have used one

• you’re in a specific location or area

A police officer can ask you to take off your coat, jacket or gloves.

The police might ask you to take off other clothes and anything you’re wearing for religious reasons - eg a veil or turban. If they do, they must take you somewhere out of public view.

If the officer wants to remove more than a jacket and gloves they must be the same gender as you.

South Wales Police are improving the way they administer, monitor and improve stop search by;

· increased transparency by recording all outcomes of stop and search and whether there is a connection between the grounds for the search and the outcome;

· restrict the use of Section 60 “no suspicion” powers;

· give members of the public the opportunity to observe and scrutinise; and

· Introduce a community complaints trigger, ensuring complaints are properly monitored and scrutinised.

· Introducing a more accurate means of recording Stop and Search

· Encourage community scrutiny via reinvigoration of Community Cohesion Groups, Seminars, Communication and opportunities for observation

If you do something which results in police involvement, you need to understand what your rights are:

§ It is your right that the police treat you fairly and with respect at all times

§ Treat you with dignity and respect

§ Give you the reason why you have been stopped

§ Give you their details, including name, police number and station; and

§ Give you a copy of the stop/search form

If you are unhappy with how you were treated, you can get advice about how to make a complaint from:

§ A police station

§ South Wales Police website

§ Your local Police and Crime Commissioner’s office

§ The Independent Police Complaints Commission

§ A solicitor

South Wales Police have created a feedback survey which can be accessed via the external webpages www.south-wales.police.uk and also support the “Y Stop” scheme, which provides information to young people on;

  • Report personal stop and search experiences, or those they have witnessed
  • Record video/audio of interactions with the police and send it directly to Y-Stop
  • Connect with lawyers and experts for support
  • Make a complaint directly to the police
  • Learn one's rights and how to stay safe

The Y-Stop app is now available on Android and iOS. For more information and to download the app, find it on the Y-Stop website .


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