[i]by Adnan Adrees[/i]
Ever since the PACE Act 1984 (Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984) all officers of the law were given new special powers in the fight against crime. Each officer would don a bright coloured uniform and transform into large beasts called "Zords" to battle the evil minions of the uber-villian known as Crime Lord. In a desperate bid to reduce crime officers could "frisk" the people of Britain in order to weed out the evil minions.
Well... not quite. But officers of the law were given the power to stop and search anyone they thought was acting "suspiciously". Which means if it looks like you're hiding something "suspicious" like a weapon (Molvi's beware) or anything illegal and the Police see you... they gonna bust a cap in you a$$... and by that I mean they're gonna stop and search you.
[b]So what’s it all about? [/b]
A stop and search is when the police stops you in a public place and searches you, your clothes and anything you're carrying as long as they have "reasonable" grounds for suspecting you of illegal activity.
So what counts as suspicious behaviour? [/b]
Well the Pig searching you has to have some sort of 'reasonable belief' that you are carrying illegal substances (yeah... you know what I’m talking about; drugs, crack, smack, spit... nic nacs paddy wack give the candyman the finger) prohibited items like a weapon and finally stolen items, hot gear... stuff some bloke sold you out of the trunk of his car (you know who you are!).
But this reasonable belief can't be based on a 'hunch' or instinct any past history or the colour of your skin, your clothes (not all muslims carrying rucksacks are terrorists people) age, hairstyle (although some people should be arrested for their hairstyles) or simply because you look dodgy. But can sometimes be based on a level of generalisation based on your behaviour. Meaning if an officer encounters someone on the street at night obviously trying to hide something, then that’s gonna be enough for him to reasonable believe your doing something or carrying something your not supposed to be.
[b]The Search [/b]
Even before a search can take place they have to:
-Provide proof that they are an officer of the law (if not in uniform).
-Provide the officers name and police station.
-Tell you the object of the search.
-Tell you the reasons for his search.
-Give you a record of the search, or where you can obtain one.
You can only be searched in a public place, which means they can't come into your house and search you (not without a warrant anyway.. yeah you've seen the movies). At which point they can only "ask" you to remove any outter clothing e.g. your jacket, coat, gloves etc. They can at no point ask you to remove anything more than that (scream bloody murder if they do).
On the other hand if they need to carryout a more detailed search (becoz they suspect there’s more than long-johns in your pants) they have to take you to a private place near by (like the friendly Police van where they promise you funny stories and candy) as NO search can take place that exposes 'intimate' parts of the body and you can request to have someone of the same sex present and the not members of the opposite sex... unless you request otherwise (you dirty dirty boy).
Although they can't force you to remove any clothing... but if your gonna act like a horses a$$ then this may give them reasons to take you in and forcibly search you at the local bobby station. In which case exercise your right to shut up.
Officers can also search your ride. Anything inside or on your car is open to being searched. But they must provide the above information first. If the car is unattended they have to leave a note stating the police station the officer is attached to and any damage (if they had to break something to get in) can be claimed against the police station.
So what are your Rights? [/b]
Although the police at this point are only "asking" you to co-operate in a stop and search it is not voluntary. However beware the police can use reasonable force to detain you so they can conduct a search. Anything more than reasonable force IS Police Brutality which means where there’s a blame... there a claim.
Any officer who conducts the search must have a reason to suspect you. If you're not given a reason then the search is illegal. EXCEPT in the extreme case where you're a suspected terrorist (Mr Al’Qaeda I hope your paying attention) where they do not need reasonable cause to suspect you before they search you. Under that they can pretty much search anybody (surprising how Human Rights go right out of the window as soon as you need them). Anti-terrorism stop and searches usually only take place in crowded public areas like in the train/tube station or near public landmarks e.g. Parliament, Downing Street… McDonalds. As a means of deterring terrorist attacks.
If English is NOT your first language and you don’t understand why you've been stopped, the Police searching you must take steps to inform you in your own language (so practice with me now: Wats up doc? Me no speak english... good... okay?).
For all those who can speak English (allegedly) listen carefully to what they tell you. If for some reason they haven’t given you the information above then no matter what they find on you, the search and the arrest is illegal (make sure you tell your solicitor…. because that is your ‘Get Out of Jail’ card).
In all circumstances remember to remain calm, DON’T give them a reason to forcibly search you. Co-operate as best as you can and make sure you listen out for the information they provide.
DO NOT FREAK OUT. The fact that you've been stopped and searched does NOT mean that you are under arrest or have done anything wrong (yet). The Dibble probably thought you were acting suspiciously and in the interest of crime prevention carried out the stop and search. Or it was simply part of a wide-range effort to catch criminals. The stop and search does not automatically mean that you have a police record.
[b]How can I complain? [/b]
If they provide you with ANY reason to complain (used excessive force, mistreated you or another brother or you were targeted unfairly) you need to file a complaint at any station. But if you don’t wanna do it in person (and lets face it who would?) You call in to the station or write an angry letter of complaint (excessive use of the exclamation mark is recommended). Or write to the Chief Constable or Commissioner of Police. But remember you have to submit your complaint within 12 months of the stop and search.
Remember when your out on that street be safe and watch out for the police, the cops, the dibbles, the pigs, the panda’s, the black and whites. They may be powerless to help you when your robbed or mugged, but they’re not powerless to arrest you.
Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984