Stop & Search

Street Interventions or Encounters

(Incorporating Stop & Search, Stop & Account, General Conversation, etc.)

Police officers nationwide carry out street encounters with members of the public, to gain intelligence and assist in the detection of crime.

Street encounters are often referred to as ‘stops’ and ‘stops and searches’. In fact, there are three types of street encounters.

  1. Stop and account: a police officer stops someone in a public place and asks them to account for themselves. The individual is not required to answer the police at this stage and can walk away if they choose.
  1. Stop and Search: a police officer stops someone and has reasonable grounds to search their clothes and anything they are carrying. The individual must oblige, or they can be arrested.

Find out more about your rights when going through the stop and account or stop and search processes: https://www.gov.uk/police-powers-to-stop-and-search-your-rights

3. Stop of a Vehicle: a police officer can stop any vehicle and ask the driver for driving documents. This is not a ‘stop’ for the purpose of stop and search, but will become one of the above processes if the driver or passenger is asked to account for themselves or if a search is carried out of the vehicle, driver or any passengers

Find out more about your rights when stopped by the police while driving: https://www.gov.uk/stopped-by-police-while-driving-your-rights/overview

"We have a lay observers scheme in Dorset where members of the public can come and observe officers on live patrol. I would particularly encourage members of ethnic minority communities to contact us and come and see what the police are actually doing. It is important that we do not lose sight of the fact that officers using stop search powers are regularly finding stolen property, drugs or weapons. The people committing a criminal act by carrying these items are the same people who can make communities feel less safe and police must use their powers under legitimate circumstances to find them and deal with them. I would hope that the community can understand and support us in this."

Chief Inspector Ash Adams, Governance and Prevention
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