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Stop and search

Any member of the public can be legally stopped by a police officer or PCSO as part of the policing effort to catch criminals in a targeted public place.

Stop and search is a police power that aims to protect the public, tackle crime and keep our streets safe. Most stop and searches taking place in areas with higher levels of crime or anti-social behaviour.

An officer must have a good reason for stopping and searching you and they must tell you the reason they have stopped you.

Who can be stopped and searched

Officers have the authority to stop, question and search anyone at any time and depending on the situation, they may also perform a search on them.

A person will never be stopped due to their age, race, ethnic background, nationality, faith, the language they speak or because they have committed a crime in the past. 

The aim of stop and search 

The purpose of stop and search is to make our communities safer by preventing crime and to give confidence to make public cooperation easier. Police can stop and search someone if;

Being stopped and searched

We understand being stopped and searched is inconvenient, however it will be done much quicker if you cooperate with the officer. 

  • If you are stopped it does not mean you are under arrest or have done anything wrong
  • the officer will fill in a search form, but this also doesn’t mean you have a police record
  • a search will usually take place where you are stopped by an officer, however you may be taken somewhere else to protect your privacy, depending on the circumstances
  • after a stop and search, you will be offered an electronic receipt of the event.

If English is not your first language, support will be made available to give you information in your own language about why you have been stopped.

More information on stop and search can be found on GOV.UK.

Stop and search in your area

We work closely with communities across Cambridgeshire to increase the effectiveness of our stop and search policing. Officers are sent to high-crime areas to respond to a criminal activity or target those responsible for criminal or anti-social behaviour activities and most relate to stolen goods, drug use, offensive weapons or items used to assist in a theft.

If an officer performs a stop and search on someone, it does not mean they are guilty of a crime. A stop and search may take time, but this is to ensure the persons rights are protected and are treat with respect.

Feedback about a stop and search

If you have been stopped and searched by a Cambridgeshire Constabulary PCSO or officer, please complete our online feedback form to tell us about your experience.

Complain about a stop and search

If you are unhappy with the way the stop and search was carried out, you can let us know by completing our online complaints form.

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