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Your Rights and Responsibilities

What are my rights?

The officers searching you must use the stop and search powers fairly, responsibly and with dignity & respect for people without discriminating.

If English is not your first language, and you do not understand why you have been stopped, reasonable steps must be taken to provide you with information in your own language.

The officer must make sure that the search time is kept to a minimum.

The search must take place near where you are stopped, except in instances where moving you would protect your privacy.

The officer does not have the power to stop you in order to find grounds for a search. More comprehensive details of your rights when you are stopped and searched are available in the Home Office website, HMIC report PACE & Code of Ethics.

Your right to complain

If you are unhappy with how you were treated you can give us your feedback and by working with us, we can ensure that we continue to use stop and search powers to the satisfaction of our communities, helping to create the safest county in the country.

You can also make a complaint. You should complain if you think you have been treated unfairly, been the subject of discrimination or not treated with dignity, respect and civility. It will help if you keep the form that the police gave you.

Click here to complete an online feedback or complaints form.

Stop and Search Community Complaints Trigger

Northamptonshire Police will make an explanation and be answerable to local community groups when any one of the triggers detailed below has been met.

  • Where five complaints have been made within a one month period in a single policing sector.
  • Where more than one complaint has been made about the same officer (but not stemming from the same incident) regardless of where the searches took place within one month.
  • Where the nature of a single complaint has caused wider community concern.
  • Where the investigating officer recommends an explanation be made.

The local Independent Advisory Group will act as the initial police contact where explanations will be made and questions answered.

What are my responsibilities?

Everyone has a civic duty to help police officers prevent crime and catch offenders. The fact that the police may have stopped someone does not mean they are guilty of an offence.

Apart from the inconvenience, people may feel irritated that they've been stopped when they haven't done anything wrong - that's completely understandable. However, the stop or stop and search will be much quicker if a person co-operates with police officers.

Don't forget that a stop and search must be carried out according to strict rules - the police have responsibility to ensure that people's rights are protected. Everyone should expect to be treated fairly and responsibility.

In almost all cases, an individual should be given a record of the stop and search at the time it happens. The police use these powers to help make the local community safer by disrupting crime - public co-operation is an essential part of that.


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