The Rights side of the law
With burglaries and muggings on the rise, the boys in blue are more often than not there to keep you safe. However, if you do catch an officer’s attention and they attempt to stop you there are a few things you should know.
Are Police allowed to stop you?
The short answer is no, but the majority of the time it will just be to answer basic questions
What might these questions be?
Usually they will be asking for information relating to local crimes; these may include, what’s your name? What’s are you doing in the area? Where are you going? Or have you seen anything relating to an incident?
Do I have to answer these questions?
FUCK NO. You are completely within your rights to not answer these questions, or invoke your right to silence. If you do so, however, make sure its in a calm and polite manner. Without any further cause or reason to suspect criminal activity you are free to continue your day.
Are they allowed to search me?
If the officer suspects illegal activity they may ask to search you; to do so they have to have ‘reasonable grounds’. Reasonable grounds is jargon for any credible and reliable evidence, such as belief you’re in possession of drugs or a weapon; sometimes officers will forget skin colour does not come under this category, and sadly, reminding them doesn’t tend to go down well.
Should I ask for a reason?
Yes, ensure you do this before the search. You should ask additionally for their name and the station they are associated with, what they expect to find, the reason they want to search you, the legal grounds behind the search, and that you can have a record of the search.
Do I have to remove clothing?
An officer can ask you to remove your jacket, hat or gloves. They are allowed to request the removal of any religious clothing, however, they must take you out of public view first.
Can I be searched for no apparent reason?
There are circumstances in which you can be searched without reasonable grounds. These do however have to be approved by a senior officer. This could be because it is suspected that incidents involving serious violence may take place or because you are in a specific location, such as private property. These orders expire after 24 hours, and allow an officer to stop and search anyone in the area, even if there are no grounds.
What should I do if I’m carrying something naughty?
Say your prayers.