Stop and Search
We stop and search people to try and keep you safe. Doing this successfully means that there are fewer victims of crime, and more crimes can be detected.
We only stop and search people if we have a reason to do so. We will not search you because of things like your age, ethnicity or the way you dress.
Why we could stop you
If we stop you, it might not because you’re doing something wrong.
We might stop you because you fit the description of someone we’re looking for in relation to a crime.
We might also stop you because we believe you’re carrying:
- stolen goods
- something that could be used as a weapon or to commit a crime
What happens if I’m stopped and searched?
If we stop you:
- if possible, the search will be done where no one else can see
- we might ask you to show what you have in your pockets or bags
- and we find you carry something illegal, such as a weapon or drugs, you could be arrested. We could also arrest you if we think you’ve committed a crime
- and we do not find anything, you’ll be allowed to go
We can also search your vehicle, even if you’re not there. However, we will leave a note to say that we’ve done this.
You may see us use mobile phones to do a stop and search. We do this to ensure searches are as quick and efficient as possible.
Your rights during a stop and search
An officer must explain to you:
- why you have been stopped and searched
- their name or ID collar number
- the police station where they are based
- the law under which you’ve been stopped
- your right to a copy of a stop and search form
The officer is expected to:
- listen to you
- treat you with dignity and respect
- listen to you without any judgement
- be kind and caring
- be honest and fair
- be professional
After a stop and search we will:
- ask if you want a copy of any record of the stop and search
- give you details on how you can access a copy of the record
What clothing we can ask you to remove?
We are allowed to ask you to remove your:
- outer coat
We might ask you to remove more clothing, because it can make it easier to carry out the search. It’s your choice to say yes.
Do I have to give you any personal details?
No. If you’re stopped and searched, you do not have to tell us your:
- date of birth
The only time you have to give us these details is if we report you for an offence.
We may also ask you to give us your ethnic origin. Again, you do not have to tell us this, but we ask this to try and monitor who we have stopped, and to encourage accountability from our officers.
How to complain about being stopped and searched?
How can I tell you about my experience?
Email us. Feedback on stop and search is extremely important to us. We often review our policy based on the feedback you give us.
What is a section 60 authorisation and what does it mean?
A Section 60 authorisation means that we can stop and search people for weapons, without needing to explain why.
For this to happen, one of our senior officers (those who are Assistant Chief Constables or above) must agree to this. You can find our senior officers on our executive team page.
They must also believe that serious violence has happened in an area, or is about to happen, before they agree to this.
It’s called a Section 60, or S60, because it is allowed under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.
If a Section 60 is granted, we will:
- make sure it’s used only where necessary
- make this clear to you
- ensure that the senior officer authorising this has evidence
- limit the initial authorisation period to no more than 15 hours. This can be extended to a maximum of 24 hours
- tell you where there will be a Section 60 authorisation in advance
- report on it afterwards so the public can be aware of the purpose and the success
What is the 'Best Use of Stop and Search' scheme?
We comply with the Government's requirements for the Best Use of Stop and Search.
As one of the launch forces for the Home Office's ‘Best Use of Stop and Search' scheme in August 2014, WMP has introduced a raft of measures to improve its use of the power. Central to the changes is the stop and search mapping scheme. The initiative allows the public to see exactly where this important power is used and what the outcome of every stop and search is.
It means for the first time people in the West Midlands force area can see details like the ethnicity and the age range of those who are stopped and searched. Find out more information.
How is stop and search reviewed?
We review our stop and search procedure in a number of ways.
Our stop and search scrutiny panels sees officers and the public meet to improve, review and monitor the use of stop and search.
In addition, we comply with the government’s Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. We are regularly inspected by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).
The West Midlands Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner works with us to ensure appropriate governance and scrutiny. We also provide school presentations to help young people understand why we stop and search people and how we do it.
What are stop and search scrutiny panels?
Officers work closely with the community to constantly review and monitor stop and search and improve the way we carry out the checks.
Click on the videos below to listen to officers and community members talking about how these work and the benefits the panels have for the community.
- To find out more about your rights when being stopped and searched, please read the government's website.
- West Midlands Police works in partnership with the West Midlands Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to ensure appropriate governance and scrutiny is applied to stop and search powers. Additional information can be viewed by visiting the PCC's website.