Stop & Search – Know Your Rights

Stop & Search – Know Your Rights2020-08-14T13:41:24+01:00

Stop and Search is an essential tool in the fight on crime and in improving people’s safety. Nonetheless, it is important that the public understand their rights when they are stopped by officers carrying out this pivotal role. The Police and Crime Commissioner holds Surrey Police to account for how it uses this power. We are pleased to provide 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 won’t get a criminal record

  • You can ask for a copy of the stop and search record within three months of the search, to be collected by you at a police station

  • You have the right to complain to us

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

  • 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 Surrey Police’s 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.

The Stop and Search Form

The below images are an example of the form that is presently completed in Surrey:

Once the main detail of the Stop has been recorded officers are able to add either details of the Person or the Vehicle (first two images below). Once a Search power is selected the object of the search is displayed (image below), the objects displayed are only those that are permitted under that act (third image):

The ability is present to either print out a receipt (image below) or email a receipt if requested by the subject of the stop. The text within the email receipt is the same as the printed copy.


The below image is the log that Supervisors have of the forms once submitted. Each Stop & Search form has to be reviewed by a Supervisor who can either Approve or Reject the Stop & Search form. Where insufficient grounds have been recorded, or errors noted, the Supervisor can add comments for the benefit of the submitting officer. The document is then returned to the submitting officer for re-working. The submitting officer can edit/amend the grounds and return the document back to the Supervisor who can then review the document again. The original version of the document is retained.

Stop and SearchBOX