The focus on police powers to strip search came under scrutiny in the national press this week. The cases of minors ‘Child Q’ and ‘Olivia’ have raised sharp focus on how individuals can protect themselves, their children or vulnerable members of the community when stopped by the police.
To assist, Garrick Law’s expert legal team share their knowledge of the do’s and don’ts of police searches.
When can the Police legitimately search?
The Police in England and Wales can stop and searches under the following provisions:
Searches in public places are limited to requesting a detained person remove their outer clothing; coat, jacket, gloves, shoes, hat or any item concealing their identity. Officers are permitted to search, handle and touch the inside of shoes, socks or headgear if they believe something may be concealed within. Removal of jumpers, shirts, t shirts or religious clothing or items is permitted and dubbed a ‘more thorough search’.
Strip searches can only be conducted if an officer has a specific reason to search you further, namely that they have grounds to believe that you have an illegal item concealed under your clothing or inside your body. The reason for the strip search must be articulated to the detained person by the searching officer.
Strip Search Rules
Strip Search Rules for Minors
Remember the basic rule; if you are uncomfortable you must ask for more privacy. If such a request is denied, then insist that a note is made on the police records or your custody detention log.
Intimate Search Rules
What should I do if I risk being wrongly strip or intimately searched?