Ed Dalton. January 2008

Police Powers Questions

Q1. Describe the powers of the police to stop and search on the street. And to conduct further searches at the police station.

If you are stopped you’ll first be asked where you’re going and what you’ve been doing. The police may then decide to search you but only if they have a good reason, for example, that you fit the profile of a criminal seen in the area, or they think you’re acting suspiciously. But it is not reasonable to stop and search on the basis of race, dress, or previous convictions. If subsequently you are searched it will take place on the street. If you are asked to remove more than your coat and gloves, or anything you wear for religious reasons, they must take you somewhere out of public view. The police can also search your vehicle. If you’re carrying something illegal, such as a weapon, or the police believe you’ve committed a crime, you may be arrested. You don’t have to give your name, address or date of birth to the police if you’re stopped and searched unless you’re being arrested. They can arrest anyone who is about to commit and offence, who is in the act of committing an offence, or whom he has reasonable ground of suspecting to be committing an offence.

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If you have been arrested, because you were caught committing an offence; or there is a warrant for your arrest, you will then be taken to a police station. Here you will be given your right to inform someone of your arrest; and your right to consult a solicitor in private and the fact that independent, legal advice is available free of charge. And your right to look at the police codes of practice. You can be detained initially for 24 hours, with permission from a senior officer to hold for a further 12 hours. And for serious offences ...

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Overall summary: The description of police powers is generally accurate though it could be supported by reference to where these powers come from. The second answer does not really address the discussion required by the question. Rating: XXX