Who can stop you?
- A Police Officer (who doesn’t have to be in uniform but must show their identify card)
- Or a Police Community Support Officer - PCSO (who must be in uniform)
What is a stop?
A stop is when an officer stops you and asks you:
- What you are doing
- Why you are in an area or where you are going
- What you are carrying
What is a stop and search?
You can be stopped and searched anywhere when an officer believes you are carrying
- Drugs, weapons or stolen property
- Items which could be used to commit a crime or commit an act of terrorism
The officer can ask you to take off your outer clothing e.g. coat or jacket or anything you wear for religious reasons such as a face scarf, veil or turban, but they must take you somewhere out of public view. You can ask that the officer that searches you is the same sex as you. It does not mean that you are being arrested.
Sometimes officers can search anyone within a specific area e.g.
- When there is evidence that serious violence could take place
- Where a terrorist threat has been identified
The officer must explain this to you and must be searching for items which could be used in connection with terrorism or violence.
What if I am in a vehicle?
Your vehicle can be stopped at any time and you may be asked to show your driving documents. You must receive a written record.
How should a stop and search be carried out?
Before you are searched, the officer must take all reasonable steps to ensure that you understand:
- That you must wait to be searched
- What law they are using and your rights
- Their name
- The station they work at
- Why they stopped you
- What they are looking for
- Your right to t stop and search form
The stop and search form
If you are stopped or searched the officer must fill in a stop/search form and give you a copy. You should get a copy of the stop/search form straight away unless they are called away to an emergency, in this case you can get a copy from the Police Station. It is important for you to keep your copy of the stop/search form especially if you are not happy with the way you were treated.
- The officer must write down:
- Your name or a description of you (only if you are searched)
- How you describe your ethnic background
- When and where you were stopped or searched
- Why you were stopped or searched
- If they are taking any action against you
- The names and/or numbers of the officers
- If you were searched, what they were looking for and anything they found.
The officer will ask you for your name, address and date of birth. You do not have to give these unless you are being arrested or reported for an offence.
What can I do if I am unhappy about how I was treated?
The officer should treat you fairly and with respect. If you are unhappy with how you were treated you can complain. If you feel you were treated differently because of your race, age, sexual orientation, gender, disability, religion or faith, you can complain.
It will help if you keep the form the police gave you. You can get advice about how to make a complain form from a Police Station, your Local Police Authority, a Citizen’s Advice Bureau, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, the Commission for Equality and Human Rights, or a Solicitor.
For more detailed information on stops/searches go to www.apa.police.uk or contact your local police authority.
Cocaine, crack, crystal meth, dextromoramide, dipipanone, ecstasy, fentonyl, heroin, LSD (acid), Levomethorphan, levomoramide, magic mushrooms, methadone, opium raw and medical, morphine, pethidine, psilocin, and any class B drug prepared for injection;
Seven years in prison and/or a fine for possession, life imprisonment and/or a fine for possession with intent to supply.
Amphetamines (speed), amylobarbitone, barbiturates, butobarbitone,Cannabis and cannabis resin, codeine, Dexedrine, Dihydrocodeine (DF 118), Glutethimide, Methaqualone, Methylamphetamine, Methylphenidate (Ritalin), Pentazocine (Fortral), Pentobarbitone (Nembutal), Phenmetrazine, Quinalbarbitone (Seconal).
Five years in prison and/or a fine for possession, 14 years in prison and/or a fine for possession with intent to supply.
Benzodiazepines, Chlordiazepoxide (Librium), Dextropropoxyphene (Distalgesic),
Diazepam (Valium), Diethylpropion (Tenuate), Flurazepam (Dalmane), ketamine, Lorazepam (Ativan), Meprobamate (Equanil) , Nitrazepam (Mogadon), Oxazepam (Serenid), Phentermine, Temazepam (Euhypnos),
Two years in prison and/or a fine for possession, five years prison and/or a fine for possession with intent to supply.
These penalties are given in a Crown Court. In a Magistrates Court, where less serious offences are dealt with, the maximum sentence is six months imprisonment and a £5000 fine.
The actual sentence you're likely to get will also depend on:
- The drug involved;
- Any previous criminal record;
- Your personal circumstances (i.e. being a single parent);
- The attitude of the presiding magistrate/judge.
Some other drugs are controlled by the Medicines Act. It may not be illegal to possess drugs such as prescription medicines, GHB (gammahydroxybutyrate) but supply is still an offence.
Other drug laws
Most drugs are covered by the Misuse of Drugs Act. These ones aren't:
It is an offence for a license holder to sell alcohol to a person under 18 (apart from the exception with meals) or to allow a person under 18 to drink in a bar even if someone over 18 has bought the alcohol.
If you are 14 or over you are allowed into a bar but the licensee may choose not to allow this on their premises. If you are under 14 you are only allowed into a hotel or restaurant when alcohol is being served if it is being served with a meal and you are accompanied by someone of 21 or over.
It is not illegal to use, but a shopkeeper can be prosecuted for selling a solvent to under-18s who they know will use it for sniffing
It is illegal for a shopkeeper to knowingly sell to under-18s. However, it is not illegal for under-18s to smoke but you must be at least 16.
Amyl nitrates (Poppers)
Amyl nitrate is a prescription-only medicine. Possession is not an offence, but supply is restricted by the Medicines Act. Butyl and Isobutyl nitrate are not restricted in any way. The stuff available from jokes and sex shops is usually butyl or isobutyl nitrate. If any amyl nitrate is present, however, then supply is restricted. Use is not.
- A child can be convicted of a criminal offence if they know they were doing wrong
- Open a bank account
- A person is fully responsible for any crime they commit and the police can take fingerprints
- Work part-time with the teenager's school's consent
- Go into a pub with an adult (but the teenager can't drink alcohol)
- Be convicted of a crime
- Be convicted of rape (if a boy) and illegal sex with a girl under sixteen
- Claim social security benefits in their own right
- Drink some alcohol with a meal in a pub (but not at the bar)
- Get married (with parents' permission)
- Leave home to live independently. (In England and Wales sixteen year olds can leave home only with parental consent.)
- The age of consent for legal sex (including homosexual consent in England, Scotland and Wales)
- Work full-time
- A person can drive a car and pilot an aeroplane
- Go into a betting shop (but not bet)
- Be tried before an adult court and sent to prison or fined up to £2,000
- Leave home or marry without parental consent
- Drink alcohol in a pub
- Own a house or land
- Sign contracts
- Apply for loans and credit cards
- Make a will
- Do jury service
- Donate blood or organs
This booklet is for parents and carers. Its aim is to help them know when the law has something to say about their families’ day-to-day lives.