Stop and search laws and powers

Stop and Search - Laws and Powers

There are a number of laws which give powers to officers to stop and search a person or vehicle without having to arrest them.  The ones most commonly used are:

  • Code A of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE Code A), relating to searches for weapons, stolen property, display grade fireworks or items which could be used to commit a crime;
  • Section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, relating to searches for controlled drugs;
  • Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, relating to searches for offesive  weapons or dangerous instruments which might be used, or might have been used in incidents of serious violence; and
  • Sections 43 and 47A1 of the Terrorism Act 2000, relating to searches for evidence or articles in connection with terrorism.


1 In March 2001, Sections 44-47 of the Terrorism Act 2000 were repealed by Terrorism Act 2000 (remedial) Order 2011 and replaced by Section 47A.