What to if you are ever stopped by police on the street

Being stopped by police on the street can be a scary experience, even if you know that you are not guilty of any crime. It is unlikely that you will get stopped, but it is helpful if you know what to do and what your rights are in this situation so that you know how to react if you or one of your kids ever gets stopped. Additionally, it is important to remember that the police are there to keep you and everyone else safe at all times, so co-operation is important. Read on to find out what to do if you are ever stopped by the police.

Stay Calm

Nobody likes being approached by the police and it is perfectly natural to be scared during this time. Just try to stay calm, remember that they are there to promote safety and that you have nothing to hide.


Providing Information

It is likely that when you are stopped, they will ask you what your name is, why you are in the area and what your reasons for being there are. You can answer these questions if you want but you do not have to and can simply walk away or say that you are exercising your right to remain silent. If they have no evidence to suspect criminal activity then you are free to walk away.


Can They Search Me?

If the police officer has reason to suspect criminal activity then it is likely that they will ask to search you usually for illegal drugs, weapons or stolen property. Additionally, you need to know about police powers to search through your phone as they cannot do this without your consent. The police are allowed to search you if they have grounds to warrant a search, they have told you their police ID and the reason for the search along with your right to a copy of the search form. Without a warrant, you are free to walk away.


Being Searched

If they do decide to search you then they will need to provide you with their name and police station, what they expect to find during the search, the reason they are searching you, and why they are legally allowed to search you. If it is in a public space, they will ask you to remove any hats, gloves or coats but if they want to remove any more than this then they will take you somewhere out of the public eye.



Following the search, you will be given a written record of the stop and search, a receipt or there will be a copy emailed to you. If you wish to complain about the stop and search and how it was carried out then you can use the information on the record/receipt.


Being stopped by the police is intimidating, but it is important to remember that they are there for your safety. It is essential to try to remain calm during this time and to remember your rights so that the process will be over sooner rather than later and you will not make matters worse.

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