Know Your Rights


Being stopped and search ed does not mean you are being arrested!  This know your rights leaflet will give you all that you need to know. Click here to download it.

A Police Officer has powers to Stop & Search you under reasonable grounds if they suspect you’re carrying:-

  • Stolen items
    • Offensive weapons
    • Articles for use in stealing
    • Articles for causing damage
    • Adult fireworks
    • Drugs
    • Firearms
    • Smuggled goods
    • Alcohol (at sporting events)

(This acronym (GOWISELY) is taught to police officers to remind them when conducting a stop and search under reasonable grounds how they should behave and what information they are required by law to give you.

[G]rounds – reason for the search
[O]bject of the search -what they expect to find
[W]arrant card must be produced by plain clothed foficers
[I]dentify – the PC must inform the suspect of his name
[S]tation -the PC should tell you at which police station he/she is based.
[E]ntitlement to a copy of the search record (they must offer you a 5090 ‘stop & search receipt form’ or advise you where you can obtain a copy)
[L]egal power being used to for detention – why they are legally allowed to search you
[Y]ou are being detained for the purpose of search -suspect must be told he / she is being detained.

The only exceptions to the act where the police don’t use GOWISELY are:

a) under the “no suspicion law”….. Section 60 (CJPOA)

This is when a senior police officer believe that gang-related violence is about to occur or receive information that people in a location are carrying weapons and intend to fight they  can authorize  the Section 60 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (CJPOA) – this allows police officers to search without reasonable grounds or

b) When carrying out a stop and account enquiry to find out :-

1) What you are doing?
2) Why you are in the area?
3) Where you are going?

However you are not search nor do you have to answer the questions put to you on a stop and account engagement!

The two videos below give you advice on how to and how not to behave during a stop and search.

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