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Offline Wiggus

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Police search powers
« on: April 18, 2013, 12:30:20 PM »
Sounds simple but im part of a working group at work revising police stop and search powers so for anyone in england if you could answer the following questions
1. Have you ever been searched?
2. What do you think is the legal requirement in regards of being searched (how much of you can be searched/how invasive and what must you be told)
3. Have you ever witnessed someone being searched?
4. What did you think of the person being searched?
5. What did you think of the officer searching?
6. Did you feel safer seeing officers searching people?
7. What city do you live in?
8. Do you think the police stop and search the right people?

Dependant on your answers i may send some follow up questions to you via PM and all answers are completely anonymous as far as my research goes

Now for our members from other countries the task is a little more difficult
1. Do your police officers have powers of search? please tell me the country too :)
2. If yes how much do you know about them?
3. Are written records kept?
4. How long and do you have a right to them?
5. Are your police routinely armed?
Again more questions may  follow in PM's

Cheers guys i appreciate it.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2013, 02:53:25 PM by Wiggus »
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Offline PaxImperatrix

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Re: Police search powers
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2013, 02:46:17 PM »
Now for our members from other countries the task is a little more difficult
1. Do your police officers have powers of search? please tell me the country too :)
2. If yes how much do you know about them?
3. Are written records kept?
4. How long and do you have a right to them?
5. Are your police routinely armed?

1. Yes. The Netherlands.

2. A few things, but I'm not very sure about their correctness. I believe mayors have the authority to designate a clearly delineated area as a 'fouilleergebied' for a limited period of time and for a specific purpose. This would make it legally possible for police to stop and pat down anyone in that area at that time, check bags, etc. This is what tends to happen around football stadiums when there is a match. It might also be possible to define such an area for a longer period of time as part of the municipal by-laws; there would be more extensive safeguards for that process, probably involving the mayor, town council and municipal executive board.

Police are not normally allowed to just stop and search someone. There needs to be a reasonable suspicion of some crime. Someone who has been arrested may legally be patted down. I do not know under what circumstances a full body and cavity search would be legal, but suspect that police at airports have more wide-ranging powers.

3. I don't know. I would certainly assume so for fully body and cavity searches.

4. I don't know how long but do believe you are entitled to ask for the file the police have on you. Could look it up if you'd like me to, but I assume you're more interested in how well-informed I am than the actual information.

5. Yes. The standard gear consists of a baton, pepper spray and a semi-automatic pistol.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2013, 12:14:12 AM by PaxImperatrix »

Offline Wiggus

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Re: Police search powers
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2013, 02:55:15 PM »
Just updated it with a few more questions if you could modify your posts with the new answers it would be greatly appreciated. Yes the part of my focus is that the lack of information given to the members of public as to what police officers can do.
In the UK we have pretty extensive search powers which would make some people in europe and the US positively pop.
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Offline Wyddr

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Re: Police search powers
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2013, 09:46:17 PM »
Sounds simple but im part of a working group at work revising police stop and search powers so for anyone in england if you could answer the following questions
1. Have you ever been searched?
2. What do you think is the legal requirement in regards of being searched (how much of you can be searched/how invasive and what must you be told)
3. Have you ever witnessed someone being searched?
4. What did you think of the person being searched?
5. What did you think of the officer searching?
6. Did you feel safer seeing officers searching people?
7. What city do you live in?
8. Do you think the police stop and search the right people?

1. Not by a police officer, no. Happened at airports, but I don't think that's what you're asking.
2. A cop can't search me without probable cause unless I give permission. I'm pretty sure I don't need to consent to anything if I don't want. Most searches a limited to a simple pat down, and that only in cases of probable cause.
3. Yup.
4. Nothing really. Usually curious what they did to attract suspicion.
5. I've never seen a Boston cop be anything other than professional, but I haven't seen a lot of this kind of thing.
6. Not really. I usually see it as something that makes *them* feel safer.
7. Boston, Massachusetts, USA
8. I'm sure they get it right sometimes and wrong other times. They're only human.

Quote
Now for our members from other countries the task is a little more difficult
1. Do your police officers have powers of search? please tell me the country too :)
2. If yes how much do you know about them?
3. Are written records kept?
4. How long and do you have a right to them?
5. Are your police routinely armed?
Again more questions may  follow in PM's

Cheers guys i appreciate it.

1. Yes, but I believe they're fairly limited.
2. Honestly, not all that much. Much of what I know I've already described.
3. Not sure what you mean. Cops need to file a report on all incidents in which they are involved, which would include searches.
4. They're about a page long or so (longer if things get complicated; the standard form is one page, though). I do have a right to them.
5. Just about all the time. Pistol and pepper spray (I think). No club or nightstick, oddly enough. 

Offline Benis

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Re: Police search powers
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2013, 11:08:44 PM »
Now for our members from other countries the task is a little more difficult
1. Do your police officers have powers of search? please tell me the country too :)
2. If yes how much do you know about them?
3. Are written records kept?
4. How long and do you have a right to them?
5. Are your police routinely armed?
Again more questions may  follow in PM's

Cheers guys i appreciate it.

1. Yes, in Sweden police have the power to search people.
2. You mean about the power to search, right? If there is cause police are allowed in public places to search a civilians and a person cannot refuse a search. The question of cause is left to the policeman's judgement and could potentially be quite abused from what I have understood when talking to Swedish policemen.
3. If suspected illegal material is seized but otherwise no, and pouring out someone's beer doesn't count as seizing...
4. Not sure, I would suspect that illegal material that is seized ends up in protocols that get attached to the casefile and thus kept permanently. I am pretty sure that you have a right read them.
5. Yes, all patrolling police are armed with service pistols, pepper spray and expandable batons.

Hope it helps!
« Last Edit: April 18, 2013, 11:22:33 PM by Benis »

Offline Wiggus

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Re: Police search powers
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2013, 08:20:39 AM »
All of this helps guys, if more people are happy to post replies please do so there are no 'bad' answers if you honestly think all cops a fascists or abuse minorities they are just as valid answers this is a perception and knowledge based research.
My name is Steven Wilson
My friends call me Wiggy
My enemies call me Mr Wilson
You may call me Sir!
'Who Dares Wins'
'Better to be tried by 12 than carried by 6'
'I love being a writer; I just dont like the paper work'
'Don't make me angry, you wont like it when im angry'

Offline RatsofTobruk

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Re: Police search powers
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2013, 09:28:18 AM »
1. Yes they do in Australia.
2. In public spaces I'm a little vague on it, but I think they can only request that you show things unless they have a strong reason for searching you, in which case they'd need to write up afterwords their reasons for doing so and woe to them if it wasn't good enough. For private property they'd need some sort of legal warrant.
3. Yes, any action that serious would require a record.
4. I am not at all sure, but if I had to guess I'd say for at least a month and yes you would.
5. Yes. They fire rarely enough that any incident in Sydney would be front-page news, but they all have pistols. They've also introduced tasers recently.
As a side note, none of this applies to ASIO, our version of MI5. Those guys have the legal right pushed through Parliament post-9/11 to detain for 6 months and search indiscriminately. They've used these powers a grand total of once over a decade, apparently, but they have them.
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Offline Lonewolf

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Re: Police search powers
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2013, 12:30:57 PM »
Now for our members from other countries the task is a little more difficult
1. Do your police officers have powers of search? please tell me the country too :)
2. If yes how much do you know about them?
3. Are written records kept?
4. How long and do you have a right to them?
5. Are your police routinely armed?
Again more questions may  follow in PM's

Cheers guys i appreciate it.

1. To search a home they need a permit, signed by a judge. Police officers can check cars and people, though i think they need a initial suspicion (for example they found something illegal in the car) or an objective reason (airport controls) for the latter. I am from Germany.

2.  I suspect you mean about the power of the police to search people? Not all that much. It hasn't really happened to me yet and i generally do what the officer says and, if necessary, let the lawyer deal with the details later.

3. There are probably short notes in the report the officer has to write, but as long as nothing illegal is found, it wont appear in you records.

4. I think it depends upon the crime in question, several years at least. And yes, as far as i am aware you may always check your file. You actually have to tell your potential employer in an job interview, if you have been found guilty of any work relevant crimes (for example theft) as long as they are still in your record.

5. Yes, usually with 9mm pistols as far as i know, special and anti riot units are of course equipped differently.




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Offline Spectral Arbor

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Re: Police search powers
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2013, 12:58:51 PM »
Now for our members from other countries the task is a little more difficult

1. Do your police officers have powers of search? please tell me the country too :)

Canada. Yes, our police have the power of Search and Seizure, but I think that in the early 80's, these powers were limited, and there must be "reasonable grounds" to conduct a search.

Locations are allowed to have entry be conditional upon willingness to be searched, such as airports, prisons, court houses [I think]. You aren't required to allow someone to search you, but you can't get in unless you allow it. ;)

2. If yes how much do you know about them?

I took a law class back in high school, so about 14 years ago. Essentially, a police officer can't grab you at random and give you a pat down, or search your wallet / purse. If you're pulled over for speeding in your car, the officer can shine a flashlight in to see if anything is exposed, and that's considered reasonable search. If they wanted to enter your vehicle, to lift cushions or look into an ash tray, they'd need probable cause, and likely a warrant.

If they smelled marijuana, for example, that would be reasonable grounds for a search, though I believe they would need to get some kind of authorization.

3. Are written records kept?

So far as I know, yes. Canadians, and likely North Americans in general, value our "Expectation of Privacy". To the point that we would rather, as a society, hinder search efforts by authorities to search rather than allow free reign. I believe that any search by an authority must be recorded.

4. How long and do you have a right to them?

I'm not sure about how long they'd be kept, or if we have a right to see them. Tax information must be kept for 7 years, so I imagine that most Government documents have a similar shelf life. The Freedom of Information act may or may not allow an individual access to these records, but an investigative body would certainly have access to them, should an accusation of wrong doing be leveled.

5. Are your police routinely armed?

There are different levels of policing in Canada. There are municipal, provincial, federal, and military branches, that I'm aware of. All police are allowed to carry restricted firearms, which covers any firearm not reasonably used for hunting. Pistols, automatic riffles, shotguns with a greater than 3 round magazine, that sort of thing.

In general, most officers carry a "small" pistol for day to day duties. Officers that are primarily involved with community activities may choose to not wear a pistol, such as those regularly involved with children. They may also carry "less lethal" weapons, such as tasers and pepper sprays.


I've been searched at Airports. I felt it was professional, but I personally hate that I'm treated like a suspected criminal, just so I can fly on business. I felt uncomfortable, but bear no ill will towards my searchers. They're just doing their job.

Offline Slick Samos

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Re: Police search powers
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2013, 01:11:28 PM »
UK (note that I would consider myself very ignorant about criminal law and policing in general)

1. Have you ever been searched?
No

2. What do you think is the legal requirement in regards of being searched (how much of you can be searched/how invasive and what must you be told)
Well probably a warning before they start would be nice...
I think it would be better if the person being searched could put their stuff in a tray or something since that would reduce minimum invasiveness.
Perhaps have different levels and guidelines for different situations as then the officers have a chance to use a shorter, quicker one where a longer one would be unnecessary and make the person feel victimised...

3. Have you ever witnessed someone being searched?
Probably but I can't remember so for all intents and 

4. What did you think of the person being searched?
Well they probably feel picked on (but since I can't

5. What did you think of the officer searching?
Intrusive, but necessary

6. Did you feel safer seeing officers searching people?
Yeah

7. What city do you live in?
Since this is a public place I'm going to just leave it as South in a upper middle class town/city :P

8. Do you think the police stop and search the right people?
Probably not, but they don't know if they need to search them until they've searched them (otherwise they wouldn't have needed to search them)
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