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The stop and search laws are designed to keep everybody safe, including you. They are not intended to harass or intimidate you, and can help the police detect crime and make our communities safer. Any stop search should be fair, lawful and justified, carried out in a respectful and professional manner. 

Durham Constabulary recognise that stop search can be highly emotive and if misused, can be harmful to trust and confidence in us. They are some of the most intrusive powers we use daily which can effect individuals but also group and wider communities. This is the reason we need to ensure we get it right and the reason that we strive to ensure every search, where possible, is recorded on body worn video, recorded correctly and then quality checked by their supervisors.  

We are committed to listening to feedback from communities, and ensuring that when we use this power it is justified, people are provided with good information and we treat everyone with dignity and respect. This is the reason we undertake a scrutiny process with the community groups to examine whether we are using these powers proportionately, legally, effectively and efficiently every time.

The police have the right to detain a person and their vehicle for the purposes of a search if they have reasonable grounds to suspect they will find:

  • Drugs
  • ‘Offensive weapons’, such as a knife
  • Firearms
  • Stolen property, or
  • Tools which could be used to commit a crime

What the police officer must do:

Before using any search power the officer must take reasonable steps to give you the following information:

  • His/her name (except for terrorism searches) and the police station he/she is from
  • The object of the search - what he/she is looking for
  • The grounds or authorisation for the search - why he/she is searching you
  • Your entitlement to a full copy of the search record now or if this is not practicable, if you request a copy within 3 months from the date of the search
  • If not in uniform, the officer must show his/her warrant card
  • The legislative power under which you have been stopped
  • You are being detained for the purpose of the search
  • In a public place you do not have to remove any more than your coat, jacket and gloves
  • If required to remove your shoes, socks, t-shirt or headgear, you will be taken somewhere more private such as a police van/police station
  • If required to remove more than this, you must be taken to a police station or a private place. In this case the officer must be of the same sex

Definition of fair and effective stop search

A stop and search is most likely to be fair and effective when:

  • The search is justified, lawful and stands up to public scrutiny
  • The officer has genuine and objectively reasonable suspicion they will find a prohibited article or item for use in crime
  • The person understands why they have been searched and feels that they have been treated with respect
  • The search was necessary and was the most proportionate method the police officer could use to establish whether the person has such an item

Stop and search statistics

The latest stop and search statistics for Durham Constabulary click here or visit the website. 

Independent Advisory Group

Our Independent advisory group (IAG) advise on Durham Constabulary’s working practices, policies and procedures from a community perspective. They help us to engage with and understand the needs of all of our communities and to tailor our services to suit their needs. 

The Independent Advisory Group represent the diverse communities of County Durham and Darlington. The group meet every three months to facilitate a two way flow of information that promotes a better understanding of the role of the police service and the impact that it has in diverse communities.

Recently advice has been sought on changes made to the force operating model and the impact that extreme right wing demonstrations have on minority communities. 

If you would be interested in becoming a member of the IAG please contact us using the below contact information: 


0191 375 2868 

Cohesion Unit
Durham Constabulary Headquarters
Aykley Heads


If you think you have been treated unfairly, you can complain by contacting:

Professional Standards & Legal Services Department
Peterlee Police Office
St Aidans Way


0191 375 2563