Need advice on Police search.

D

Deleted 183533

Guest
Hoping to tap into the knowledge pool of Arrse here.

Is this stop and search of my son lawful. I have my doubts but keen to hear opinions here. A young probationary local police constable (We know this because he actually joked about it) was patrolling a park with a PCSO. They seen a group of youths around the bandstand (Son was in this group) listening to music on a phone. Officers approach and young cop sees a bulge under my sons coat. He demands my son remove his coat to show him what it is. My son refused and asked if he was legally obliged to take his coat off. The officer then detains him for the purpose of a search under Section 1 PACE and states he thinks the bulge might be stolen goods. It turned out the bulge under the coat was nothing more than my sons wholly hat in his inner pocket.

Now setting aside my son being an awkward teen and not just explaining this I'm still concerned around the grounds for this search? The officer didn't ask what it was. He went straight from seeing the bulge to demanding the coat being removed to search. Is it an issue he seen a group of youths and formed the opinion one must have stolen goods? Is this a lawful search or are we barking up the wrong tree?
 
Hoping to tap into the knowledge pool of Arrse here.

Is this stop and search of my son lawful. I have my doubts but keen to hear opinions here. A young probationary local police constable (We know this because he actually joked about it) was patrolling a park with a PCSO. They seen a group of youths around the bandstand (Son was in this group) listening to music on a phone. Officers approach and young cop sees a bulge under my sons coat. He demands my son remove his coat to show him what it is. My son refused and asked if he was legally obliged to take his coat off. The officer then detains him for the purpose of a search under Section 1 PACE and states he thinks the bulge might be stolen goods. It turned out the bulge under the coat was nothing more than my sons wholly hat in his inner pocket.

Now setting aside my son being an awkward teen and not just explaining this I'm still concerned around the grounds for this search? The officer didn't ask what it was. He went straight from seeing the bulge to demanding the coat being removed to search. Is it an issue he seen a group of youths and formed the opinion one must have stolen goods? Is this a lawful search or are we barking up the wrong tree?


It depends on whether the officer had reasonable grounds to suspect he had:
  • illegal drugs
  • a weapon
  • stolen property
  • something which could be used to commit a crime, such as a crowbar
Or if it had been approved by a senior officer.
 
D

Deleted 183533

Guest
It depends on whether the officer had reasonable grounds to suspect he had:
  • illegal drugs
  • a weapon
  • stolen property
  • something which could be used to commit a crime, such as a crowbar
Or if it had been approved by a senior officer.
The grounds he gave are what I have detailed above. He stated that he thought the bulge was stolen goods. It was a section 1 PACE search so no requirement for a senior officer to approve. That is a section 60 search. The search record clearly states S1 PACE.

My question here is surrounding the grounds. Are they strong enough? If not then was it lawful? Ultimately my thought is this young cop has attempted to get an easy search completed for his probationary portfolio. But that's my opinion and not fact.
 
The grounds he gave are what I have detailed above. He stated that he thought the bulge was stolen goods. It was a section 1 PACE search so no requirement for a senior officer to approve. That is a section 60 search. The search record clearly states S1 PACE.

My question here is surrounding the grounds. Are they strong enough? If not then was it lawful? Ultimately my thought is this young cop has attempted to get an easy search completed for his probationary portfolio. But that's my opinion and not fact.
That's for the officer to decide/justify to his superiors.

He may have had a description of a group of people that fitted your son's description who had been involved in some theft.

@wetsmonkey may be able to advise in general terms.
 


It depends on whether the officer had reasonable grounds to suspect he had:
  • illegal drugs
  • a weapon
  • stolen property
  • something which could be used to commit a crime, such as a crowbar
Or if it had been approved by a senior officer.
@HBK,
@Tappet has it right there.
You could ask what the Officer's reasonable grounds where for believing your son had stolen goods.
To me, reasonable grounds would be that your son (or members of the group) matched the description of someone suspected of stealing property.

Constable Savage added just to lighten the mood.
 

wild_moose

War Hero
Did the officer take your son through the GOWISELY (GOWISE in my day) process that he is supposed to have? This would have set out the grounds for the search, what he was searching for.

Grounds - the reasons for the search
Objects - what they're looking for
Warrant Card - produced if not in uniform
Identity - Name and collar number
Station
Entitlement to a copy of the search record
Legislation - ie the powers they're using
You - explain that you (the searched) is detained for the search

This will give some guidance as to whether it was legal or not.

Frankly from what you have described I wouldn't have searched without something else to support it - allegation of theft from someone matching description for example.
 
That's for the officer to decide/justify to his superiors.

He may have had a description of a group of people that fitted your son's description who had been involved in some theft.

@wetsmonkey may be able to advise in general terms.

I wouldn’t comment without knowing the full circumstances. Was the dad there or just taking his son’s word, what incident/offence did the police officer have knowledge of?

Too many variables without all the facts.

If you aren’t happy then complain. Every SS should be video recorded on BWV with “GOWISELY” provided by the officer.
 

B42T

LE
I wouldn’t comment without knowing the full circumstances. Was the dad there or just taking his son’s word, what incident/offence did the police officer have knowledge of?

Too many variables without all the facts.

If you aren’t happy then complain. Every SS should be video recorded on BWV with “GOWISELY” provided by the officer.

Quite a lot of film footage and stills of the SS, but I don't think they had video recorders in those days.
 
The grounds he gave are what I have detailed above. He stated that he thought the bulge was stolen goods. It was a section 1 PACE search so no requirement for a senior officer to approve. That is a section 60 search. The search record clearly states S1 PACE.

My question here is surrounding the grounds. Are they strong enough? If not then was it lawful? Ultimately my thought is this young cop has attempted to get an easy search completed for his probationary portfolio. But that's my opinion and not fact.

If I was a lawyer, which I am not, but I was a copper for a while, I would ask, "why did he have reason to suspect that your son was holding stolen property".

1. Is your son known for this,
2. Are the group he was with known for this,
3. Had the officer recently (define recently) received a message, or report, that a theft/burglary/robbery had occurred and your son matched the description of the possible toe rag?

In other words: Was it reasonable for the officer to suspect your son may have stolen property on, or about, his person given the circumstances of the day, and event. Or, was the officer exercising his newly received power, practicing his technique, and bigging it up in front of the PCSO?

If there was absolutely no reason then a letter to the Deputy Chief Constable (they usually deal with complaints and discipline). Outline the occurence, tell him of your displeasure,

"How are the youth of today expected to have any trust, or respect for police officers if all they do is try and big it up, and abuse their authority, etc., etc."

tell him you expect an apology and the officer involved to be slapped.

Its a fine line, some overstep, some don't, some get away with overstepping, some don't.

 
Last edited:

wild_moose

War Hero
If I was a lawyer, which I am not, but I was a copper for a while, I would ask, "why did he have reason to suspect that your son was holding stolen property".

1. Is your son known for this,
2. Are the group he was with known for this,

3. Had the officer recently (define recently) received a message, or report, that a theft/burglary/robbery had occurred and your son matched the description of the possible toe rag?

In other words: Was it reasonable for the officer to suspect your son may have stolen property on, or about, his person given the circumstances of the day, and event. Or, was the officer exercising his newly received power, practicing his technique, and bigging it up in front of the PCSO?

If there was absolutely no reason then a letter to the Deputy Chief Constable (they usually deal with complaints and discipline). Outline the occurence, tell him of your displeasure,

"How are the youth of today expected to have any trust, or respect for police officers if all they do is try and big it up, and abuse their authority, etc., etc."

tell him you expect an apology and the officer involved to be slapped.

Its a fine line, some overstep, some don't, some get away with overstepping, some don't.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think history of previous isn't enough on its own for a Section1 search - you'd need more (report with description etc, etc)
 

MrBane

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Did someone call for polis advice?

So a couple of observations:

1. Your lad is a youth. That's one for the jail straight away

2. They were listening to music, out loud. By this point, I'm pushing for a police assault.

3. They're in a park. We're really in the realms of full scale public disorder now.

The cop has to be able to justify what they've stoped and searched him for. Put a complaint in and see what comes back from it.

My own opinion is the English system of a cop and a PCSO is dogshit. They talked about bringing it in here and were told to **** off.

Two cops or nothing.
 

MrBane

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think history of previous isn't enough on its own for a Section1 search - you'd need more (report with description etc, etc)
In Scotland we can't use previous convictions as grounds for stop and search unless we have fairly live intel saying Helm the Housebreaker with 90 housebreaking convictions is back out breaking into houses again.

That's to give people a chance to start a new life without their old haunting them.
 
Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think history of previous isn't enough on its own for a Section1 search - you'd need more (report with description etc, etc)

Its been 10 years for me, and these stops were always a nightmare as I was out in a semi-rural town where everyone knew everyone. The Inspectors would always say that as long as there had been an occurrence in the last 12 - 24 hours with a good enough match of a description we were fine.

Things have probably changed dramatically since I left, so I will happily bow to recent experience.
 

MrBane

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Its been 10 years for me, and these stops were always a nightmare as I was out in a semi-rural town where everyone knew everyone. The Inspectors would always say that as long as there had been an occurrence in the last 12 - 24 hours with a good enough match of a description we were fine.

Things have probably changed dramatically since I left, so I will happily bow to recent experience.
I'd say that would be sailing close to the wind there. That's the sort of one where you only reference the description as the reason for the stop rather than the previous cons, then argue it out in court that the precons wasn't your driving reason (thus making the search illegal and inadmissible).
 
Nothing like always doubting the police and demanding they stop doing their job…then whining about how cops never respond or make arrests.

If your son feels this was a violation, then let him man up and file a complaint, instead of stepping in and automatically believing the cop was at fault. His age, experience l3vel, your negative attitude, have NOTHING to do with the situation.

Did your son offer to just open up his coat and show he was clean? Did he tell the Officer he had a cap in the pocket? Why was your son so averse in cooperating with the Police?

Sounds like a very low key request, taking 15 seconds, to ensure there wasn’t a weapon or other contraband, that was no muss no fuss was turned into a Rodney King moment.

Perhaps if the youth of today had respect for others, it would have been a non issue, but no…let’s just hammer the cops because it’s obvious to all those judges out there that this was a gross violation of his rights and should have a UN level Hague Convention investigation.
 

MrBane

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Nothing like always doubting the police and demanding they stop doing their job…then whining about how cops never respond or make arrests.

If your son feels this was a violation, then let him man up and file a complaint, instead of stepping in and automatically believing the cop was at fault. His age, experience l3vel, your negative attitude, have NOTHING to do with the situation.

Did your son offer to just open up his coat and show he was clean? Did he tell the Officer he had a cap in the pocket? Why was your son so averse in cooperating with the Police?

Sounds like a very low key request, taking 15 seconds, to ensure there wasn’t a weapon or other contraband, that was no muss no fuss was turned into a Rodney King moment.

Perhaps if the youth of today had respect for others, it would have been a non issue, but no…let’s just hammer the cops because it’s obvious to all those judges out there that this was a gross violation of his rights and should have a UN level Hague Convention investigation.

Back 'in the day' when we used to just search anybody without reason in Scotland (read: we targeted the known criminals, dealers and knife carriers so being searched became a twice, thrice daily occurrence for them and so stopped carrying / dealing so openly) the people with the most respect for us were the criminals.

"Alright Dave, how's tricks?"
"Aye alright."
"Right, getting a wee tug alright. Hands out your pockets. Anything daft on you?"

Then we'd have a blether for the thirty seconds it took and pap him on his way. You'd get some good intel usually as they dobbed in whoever they were having a feud with.

Oh lo, a lot less violent crime.

Try and stop a student doing 'law' though because he's smoking a joint and be prepared for a huge ******* hissy fit and argument.
 
Back 'in the day' when we used to just search anybody without reason in Scotland (read: we targeted the known criminals, dealers and knife carriers so being searched became a twice, thrice daily occurrence for them and so stopped carrying / dealing so openly) the people with the most respect for us were the criminals.

"Alright Dave, how's tricks?"
"Aye alright."
"Right, getting a wee tug alright. Hands out your pockets. Anything daft on you?"

Then we'd have a blether for the thirty seconds it took and pap him on his way. You'd get some good intel usually as they dobbed in whoever they were having a feud with.

Oh lo, a lot less violent crime.

Try and stop a student doing 'law' though because he's smoking a joint and be prepared for a huge ******* hissy fit and argument.

When I was at uni every student in the School of law had a copy of PACE, and understood it.
 

Yokel

LE
Hoping to tap into the knowledge pool of Arrse here.

Is this stop and search of my son lawful. I have my doubts but keen to hear opinions here. A young probationary local police constable (We know this because he actually joked about it) was patrolling a park with a PCSO. They seen a group of youths around the bandstand (Son was in this group) listening to music on a phone. Officers approach and young cop sees a bulge under my sons coat. He demands my son remove his coat to show him what it is. My son refused and asked if he was legally obliged to take his coat off. The officer then detains him for the purpose of a search under Section 1 PACE and states he thinks the bulge might be stolen goods. It turned out the bulge under the coat was nothing more than my sons wholly hat in his inner pocket.

Now setting aside my son being an awkward teen and not just explaining this I'm still concerned around the grounds for this search? The officer didn't ask what it was. He went straight from seeing the bulge to demanding the coat being removed to search. Is it an issue he seen a group of youths and formed the opinion one must have stolen goods? Is this a lawful search or are we barking up the wrong tree?

He could have just taken his coat off and been helpful - or got his hat out. How do you know that there had not been a robbery in which a women had her handbag taken nearby, and the Officer wondered if it was stuff down his coat?

In other news, you can avoid arrest for doing drugs by not doing drugs and you can avoid speeding charges by not speeding. If only people knew...

Was any harm done? If not, move on.
 

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