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Stop and search will be conducted by an officer of the same gender as the person being searched. There is clear guidance to officers about how they will conduct a stop and search. If necessary officers will call a colleague to assist where those conducting the initial stop are of a different gender. (SB)
Stop and search is an important tactic in the fight against crime but shouldn't be used in isolation. It is best used in an intelligence led way alongside other tactics and in partnership with other agencies. (SB, CD, MR)
Use of force tactics include; an officer taking hold of someone's arm, using handcuffs, deploying a police dog and using a baton, irritant spray, Taser or firearm. (HH, CC)
Each year officers receive 2 days of training which includes theoretical and practical Use of Force inputs and assessment i.e. the law, practical use and scenario based assessments to national standards which shows how seriously we take this responsibility. (HH,CC)
Some specialists i.e. firearms and TASER trained officers receive significant additional training over and above their colleagues which is really important.
A search for a knife would be conducted where an officer suspects that a knife is being carried due to information or intelligence indicating that a knife is being carried or concealed by a subject.
These grounds can be formed by an officer at the time - perhaps by speaking to the subject or can be based on information that the officer receives. In certain circumstances - ie where a Section 60 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 search has been authorised, an officer can search an individual without grounds in a specified location and at a specified time.
In these circumstances the force must put out messaging explaining why the Section 60 is in force, the location and duration. (SB, CD, MR)
We always welcome feedback from the public and scrutinise ourselves internally reviewing the use of force our officers record and additionally have externally scrutiny from the community in relation which is important to ensure that we are transparent and accountable.
Section 117 reasonable force to exercise powers under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act - https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1984/60/section/117
Section 3 of the criminal law act reasonable force in the circumstances to prevent crime or lawfully arrest or assist - https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1984/60/section/3
Don't forget we always need to have the grounds to suspect someone may have the object of the search on their person, but these are some examples of what we can search for - controlled drugs, stolen property, going equipped for theft/fraud, articles which are intended to cause criminal damage, offensive weapons and knives, firearms, crossbows, fireworks, psychoactive substances and items linked to terrorism. (SB,CD,MR)
It's also worth remembering / knowing the GOWISELY mnemonic...
Officers are required to have and give you:
If you are interested in the possibility of seeing the stop and search powers being used you may be interested in the local ride along scheme (Sussex) / lay observer scheme (Surrey).
We publish our statistics on our website regularly. The Stop and Search statistics are available here and the Use of Force statistics are available here.
There are other ways of dealing with prohibited articles which avoid the need for arrest, including restorative justice, out of custody interviews and reporting for summons.
There is a host of information on our websites...Have a look at: