PACE Code of Conduct
The POLICE & CRIMINAL EVIDENCE ACT (PACE) is an Act of Parliament which sets out the police powers to stop and search persons and vehicles as well as how the police should behave towards members of the public during a stop and search encounter.
Key Points of PACE:
- The primary purpose of stop and search powers is to enable officers to allay or confirm their suspicion that a person is carrying a stolen or prohibited item without exercising their power of arrest.
- Powers to stop and search must be used fairly, responsibly, with respect for people being searched and without unlawful discrimination
- For a stop and search to be lawful, the police officer’s suspicion must be ‘reasonable’. This means that there must be an objective basis for that suspicion based on facts, information or intelligence. Officers must therefore be able to explain the basis for their suspicion by reference to information about, or some specific behaviour by, the person concerned.
- Personal factors can never support reasonable grounds for suspicion. This means that you cannot be stopped and searched on the basis of your physical appearance.
- You cannot be stopped and searched on the grounds that you are already known to the police or have committed crimes in the past.