What is a stop and search?
Stop and Search is an important power for the police to help reduce crime. When used properly, it can enable the police to detect and tackle crimes that may have occurred and to prevent offending. Stop and Search can increase public confidence in policing but, because of its nature, can also interfere with people’s freedom. Equality and human rights must therefore be taken into consideration when using this power, which must also be used in accordance with the law.
Across the UK, black and minority ethnic people are statistically more likely to be stopped and searched than white people. It is therefore crucial to ensure that Stop and Search is continuously monitored to ensure that the power is used in a fair and non-discriminatory manner. That process will be more robust when the public has the opportunity to scrutinise the use of Stop and Search.
The police have a right and a duty to stop and talk to members of the public and in certain circumstances to search them. This is done to protect our communities, tackle crime and keep our streets safe.
A 'stop and search' is when a police officer (not a Police community support officer) stops you and them searches you, because he or she has the reason to suspect you are in possession of:
- Drugs, weapons or stolen property; or
- Items which could be used to commit a crime.
If you would like to find out more about your rights when it comes to being stopped and searched by a police officer, read our Know your Rights leaflet
What if I'm unhappy with a stop and search encounter?
It is also important to tell us if you were unhappy with a stop and search encounter you have experienced in the South Wales Police force area. If you would like to make a complaint click here
Stop and Search Monitoring
Members of the Police & Crime Commissioner’s team conduct dip sampling exercises which involve reviewing stop and search forms completed by police officers, as well as reviewing body worn videos. To find out more about our quality assurance work, click here
What is a Section 60 authorisation?
If one of our senior officers (they must be of Superintendent rank or above) believes that there has been serious violence in an area, or that there will be serious violence, then police officers will have the power to stop and search people for weapons, without needing reasonable grounds as mentioned above. This is authorised under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which is why you may hear it referred to as a Section 60 or S60.
If a Superintendent is not available, in urgent matters these can be authorised by an Inspector.
What will the police do while there is a Section 60 authorisation?
If a Section 60 is granted, we will:
- Make sure it is used only where necessary and make sure we make this to clear to you
- Ensure that the senior officer authorising the section 60 has evidence that serious violence has taken place or will take place
- Limit the duration of initial authorisations to no more than 15 hours, which can be extended to a maximum of 24 hours
- Where possible, tell the community that there will be a section 60 authorisation in advance of the operation
- Report on the operation afterwards so the public can be aware of the purpose and the success of it
Stop and Search Data
Below is a breakdown of our where and why stop-searches are carried out, as well as a summary of the results for 2018/19.
We think it's important to be open in showing our proactivity and how it is helping us tackle issues including illegal substances, serious violence and knife crime, as well as transparent about our use of the stop-search tactic.
Stop and Search Patrol Along Scheme
South Wales Police operates a Patrol Along scheme that supports the Best Use of Stop and Search by providing opportunities for the community to accompany police officers on patrol for a single shift. For more details, click here.
What happens during a stop and search?
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