News story

Police stop and search powers scaled back

Home Secretary lays parliamentary order as part of commitment to making counter-terrorism powers fairer and more effective.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

From tomorrow, police will only be able to stop and search people without reasonable suspicion where it’s considered necessary to prevent terrorism.

Powers reviewed

Previously, section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 allowed officers to search individuals even if they didn’t have reasonable suspicion that the person was involved in terrorist activity.

But the coalition government looked again at this power as part of a wide ranging review of counter-terror laws.

That review concluded that some form of stop and search without reasonable suspicion was needed, but that it should only take place in exceptional circumstances.

Protection of Freedoms Bill

The stop and search powers contained within today’s order are included in the Protection of Freedoms Bill and will be scrutinised as that progresses through parliament. 

Read the written ministerial statement here.

Published 17 March 2011