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Stop and Search

The police can stop and search people to detect crime and help make our neighbourhoods safe. Searches are only carried out where there are reasonable grounds to do so.

To learn more about your rights and police powers, visit the Police powers to stop and search: your rights page on GOV.UK.

If you are stopped:

  • Where possible the search will be done out of public view in order to minimise any potential embarrassment from the search.
  • Officers may ask to see the contents of your pockets as well as other items you may be carrying such as a bag.
  • The officers can also search your vehicle, even if you are not present, but they must leave a notice to say what they have done.
  • If you are carrying something illegal, such as a weapon, or the police believe you've committed a crime, you may be arrested.
  • If they don't find anything, a record of the search will be made and you will be offered a receipt.

What information will you need to provide?

You do not have to give your name, address or date of birth to the police if you're stopped and searched unless you are being reported for an offence.

You may be asked to describe your ethnic origin. You do not have to give this information, but we ask the question so we can monitor the stopping of ethnic minorities and encourage police accountability.

Watch this short film to find out more about Stop and Search: in Avon and Somerset.


If you believe you were stopped and searched unreasonably, or you weren't treated fairly or with respect, you can complain to:

Community Trigger Process

The Community Trigger ensures we work together to try and resolve complaints or concerns.

If you have a concern about the way the police are using stop and search within your community, you can use the online Community Trigger application form.

It does not replace the complaints procedure, or your opportunity to complain to your local police station or Independent Police Commission.

The Independent Scrutiny Panel and the Force Stop and Search lead will decide whether single complaints will activate the Community Trigger process.

If the local policing area receives more than one complaint over a 3 month period, the Community Trigger process will be activated.

All stop and search related complaints and their outcomes, will be published on this page anonymously.

For a chance to increase your understanding of the process and to discuss with officers, any person who makes a stop and search related complaint will be considered to take part in the Ride Along Scheme.

Stop and Search: Statistics

We are currently integrating a number of data collection systems. While we complete this work, we are temporarily unable to publish our stop and search data. As soon as possible, we will publish updated information.

To view previous statistics for stop and search in Avon and Somerset, visit the stop and search overview on

Related documents

  • PDF icon Home Office Best Use of Stop and Search
    Last updated: 21 December 2016
  • PDF icon Performance data update Apr to Sep 16
    Last updated: 16 February 2017
  • PDF icon Stop and Search HMIC Reccomendations
    Last updated: 21 December 2016
  • PDF icon Stop and Search Strategy
    Last updated: 21 December 2016
  • PDF icon Map - Total DRUG Stop Search v Total DRUG Crime
    Last updated: 13 April 2017
  • PDF icon Map - Total Stop Search v Total Crime
    Last updated: 13 April 2017