Stop and Search is an essential tool in preventing and reducing crime and when used appropriately, this can be effective in keeping the communities of County Durham and Darlington safe.
Nonetheless, it is important that the public understand their rights when they are stopped by officers carrying out this pivotal role.
The Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner holds Durham Constabulary to account for their delivery of Stop and Search. We are providing this information to help make sure you know how to complain if the search was carried out incorrectly.
Key facts of stop and search:
- You must be treated fairly
- You should be told why you are being searched
- You do not have to give any personal information unless you have been arrested
- Stop and search is not an arrest – you will not get a criminal record
- You can ask for a copy of the stop and search record within three months of the search.
- You have the right to complain to the Constabulary Professional Standards Department.
You, or the vehicle you are in, can be stopped and searched if an officer has reasonable grounds to suspect you are carrying:
- Drugs, weapons or stolen property; or
- Items which could be used to commit a crime
Police officers can stop and search you within a specific area without any reasonable grounds if it is believed that:
- Serious violence could take place; or
- Offensive weapons are being carried or have been used
The police officer should explain:
- Why you are being stopped and searched- show warrant card if not in full uniform
- What the police officer is looking for
- The law under which you are being searched
- Your right to a receipt
You should always be given the name (except for terrorism searches), identity number and station of the police officer searching you.
You should always be treated fairly and with respect. If you feel this has not happened then you can complain to Durham Constabulary Professional Standards Department.
You can also complain if you believe you were treated less favourably because of your race, age, sexual orientation, gender, gender reassignment, disability, religion or belief.
It will help if you keep the receipt that the police officer gave you.
PCVC Stop and Search Scrutiny Panel:
The purpose of the Office of the Durham Police Crime and Victims’ Commissioner’s (ODPCVC) Stop and Search Scrutiny Panel is:
1. To provide independent scrutiny of the use of Stop and Search across County Durham and Darlington.
2. To provide feedback on Stop and Search practices.
3. To provide a voice for community concerns and to influence police actions.
4. To achieve greater transparency and community involvement in the use of Stop and Search powers across County Durham and Darlington.
5. To improve public confidence and trust in the way in which Stop and Search is conducted.
6. To review and advise on policy, training and tactical considerations.
Please see Durham Constabulary website for further information
The latest stop and search performance statistics can be viewed on the Police Uk website