Police powers to stop and search persons and vehicles (without arrest)

Part 1 of PACE empowers any constable acting with reasonable grounds for suspicion to stop, detain and search you or your vehicle, or anything in or on your vehicle for certain items. Any items found may be seized.

The provisions of PACE are supplemented by a Code of Practice on stop and search, Code A. The contents of Code A must be observed by the police, although the remedy for failure to observe is usually to make a police complaint - or if prosecuted to raise an objection in court - rather than to take legal proceedings against the police.

PACE also provides some safeguards for other well-used police powers of search.

The police do not have general powers, apart from those specified in a statute, to stop and search you. You should always ask a police officer to explain on what basis they are searching you. If no search power exists you should not be searched unless you are entering sports grounds or other premises and your consent to the search is a condition of entry.
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