The police can stop and question or search children but there are strict rules the police must follow.
Stop and Account
A police officer may stop someone and ask them:
- what they’re doing?
- why they’re in an area and/or where they’re going?
However, the person doesn’t have to answer any questions the police officer asks them. This is called stop and account.
Stop and Search
A police officer has powers to stop and search someone if they have ‘reasonable grounds’ to suspect they’re carrying:
- illegal drugs
- a weapon
- stolen property
- something which could be used to commit a crime, eg a crowbar
The police should have good reasons for the search.
Before the search the police officer must tell the person the intend to search:
- their name and police station
- what they expect to find, eg drugs
- the reason they want to search you
- why they are legally allowed to search you
The police must make a record of the search and give the person search a copy if this isn’t possible at the time, they must explain how to get a copy.
Watch our video about stop and search here.