Your Rights


What are my rights?

The officers searching you must use the stop and search powers fairly, responsibly and with dignity & respect for people without discriminating.

If English is not your first language, and you do not understand why you have been stopped, reasonable steps must be taken to provide you with information in your own language.

The officer must make sure that the search time is kept to a minimum.

The search must take place near where you are stopped, except in instances where moving you would protect your privacy.

The officer does not have the power to stop you in order to find grounds for a search. More information on your rights when you are stopped and searched is available from the website.


Your right to complain

If you are unhappy with how you were treated you can give us your feedback and by working with us, we can ensure that we continue to use stop and search powers to the satisfaction of our communities, helping to create safer communities.

You can also make a complaint. You should complain if you think you have been treated unfairly, been the subject of discrimination or not treated with dignity, respect and civility. It will help if you keep the form that the police gave you.

You can complete our online feedback or complaints for here. 


What are my responsibilities?

Everyone has a civic duty to help police officers prevent crime and catch offenders. The fact that the police may have stopped someone does not mean they are guilty of an offence.

Apart from the inconvenience, people may feel irritated that they've been stopped when they haven't done anything wrong – that's completely understandable. However, the stop or stop and search will be much quicker if a person co-operates with police officers.

Don't forget that a stop and search must be carried out according to strict rules – the police have responsibility to ensure that your rights are protected. Everyone should expect to be treated fairly and responsibility.

In almost all cases, an individual should be given a record of the stop and search at the time it happens. The police use these powers to help make the local community safer by disrupting crime - public co-operation is an essential part of that.

Community Complaints Trigger

Northumbria Police actively seek out to improve the service that the public receive whenever they come into contact with police officers or staff. This also applies to when a member of the public is subject to stop and search 

We aim to ensure that we carry out each stop and search fairly and effectively , so that the officers are acting upon accurate and timely intelligence and the manner in which they do the stop and search is done so courteously and professionally so that the person being searched is treated with dignity.

We encourage any member of the public to report a complaint should they feel that they have been stopped and searched unfairly of the manner in which it was undertake was not professional.

We also use the Strategic Independent Advisory Group on a quarterly basis to examine a sample of records so that we can be sure they pass independent assessment based on national criteria. We also undertake rigorous internal audits which are reported to Strategic Management Board which is attended by the Police and Crime Commissioner.

We have very low numbers of complaints linked to stop and search. We recognise that the tactic if used inappropriately can lead to tensions in communities so we intend to treat any complaint as a “community trigger”

Once a complaint is recorded linked to a stop and search it would be brought to the attention of the Area Commander who has responsibility for that policing area

The Strategic Lead for Stop and Search would also be informed and would , on consultation with the complainant , bring the issues to the next Strategic Independent Advisory Board for consideration of any wider community issues.