This interactive map shows how many people Police Scotland stopped and searched during lockdown

Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 11:35 am
Updated Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 4:51 pm
Police will be given extra powers to carry out stop and search under new Government plans (Photo: Shutterstock)(Photo: Shutterstock)

Whether it is a search for drugs, weapons or stolen property, there are various reasons why the police might stop and search a person.

What are your rights if you are stopped by the police though?

Here is what you need to know about the police power.

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Stop and search in Scotland

From April to September last year, Police Scotland used stop and search more than 22,000 times.

Stop and search rates varied across Scotland during lockdown.

Use this interactive map to see how many times police found drugs and weapons during a stop and search.

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When can the police stop and search you?

The police can stop and search a person if they have ‘reasonable grounds’ to do so.

This means if they suspect a person has committed or is about to commit a crime or if they suspect a person if carrying something like illegal drugs, a weapon or stolen property.

The person, their possessions (like a bag) or a vehicle they are travelling in can be searched.

A stop and search can be done without ‘reasonable grounds’ though.

This happens if the police suspect a person has committed a crime or if it was suspected that serious violence involving weapons was likely to take place in the area.

A stop and search without ‘reasonable grounds’ needs to be approved by a senior police officer.

A person can also be searched if they are attending an event like a concert or football match or if they are being taken somewhere for their own safety, like a hospital.

What are your rights?

People who are stopped and searched have rights.

Beforehand the officer should explain more about the stop and search including why the person is being searched and provide their name and police number.

Police will often request the removal of the outer coat, jacket, gloves, head-gear or footwear.

If in a public place the officer cannot request the removal of more than this unless it has been authorised by a senior police officer.

The officer must also be the same sex as the person being searched.

A written receipt for the search should also be provided.

A person should not be stopped and searched based on their age, sex, ethnic background or religion.

What do the police say?

Police Scotland said all stop and search activity is carried out in a lawful and proportionate way and that people are treated with fairness, integrity and respect.

"Intelligence-led stop and search is a valuable and effective policing tactic and contributes to the prevention, investigation and detection of crime while keeping people safe and improving community well-being,” said Assistant Chief Constable Steve Johnston.