More than 130 stop and searches were carried out in Sunderland over six months - this is what police were looking for

Stop and search powers are used by police officers across the country to prevent crime and keep communities safe.

Wednesday, 7th August 2019, 1:31 pm
Updated Friday, 9th August 2019, 2:11 pm
We take a look at what you need to know about stop and searches.

And in Sunderland, more than 130 stop and searches have been carried out by Northumbria Police over the first six months of 2019.

Official data from Police UK revealed that controlled drugs was the reason for more than a third (35%) of the searches across the city’s four neighbourhood force areas; Sunderland Central, Sunderland East, Sunderland North and Sunderland West.

Between January 2019 and June 2019, officers carried 138 stop and searches across these four areas – and a force chief has said these powers go a long way stopping crime in its tracks.

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Superintendent Paul Milner, Northumbria Police’s lead for stop and search, said: “Stop and search is among a number of tactics that we use to tackle crime and keep our communities safe.

“The reality is that stop and search can prevent crime, including some of the most serious and violent type of offences.

“As a result, we actively encourage officers to use their powers when grounds are met and it is proportionate to do so.”

How many searches happened in different parts of Sunderland and what were they for?

Sunderland Central: 47

Controlled drugs: 17

Offensive weapons: 12

Stolen goods: 9

Articles for use in criminal damage: 7

Firearms: 1

Articles for use in theft: 1

Sunderland East: 14

Controlled drugs: 8

Offensive weapons: 3

Stolen goods: 3

Sunderland North: 36

Controlled drugs: 8

Offensive weapons: 10

Stolen goods: 6

Articles for use in criminal damage: 11

Firearms: 1

Sunderland West: 41

Controlled drugs: 15

Offensive weapons: 8

Stolen goods: 10

Articles for use in criminal damage: 7

Articles for use in theft: 1

What is a stop and search?

The policing practice of stopping a person briefly in order to search them for weapons or prohibited items. An officer can search you, your clothing or anything you’re carrying – but these powers require an officer to have ‘reasonable grounds to suspect’ that an individual has the prohibited item in their possession.

Who can stop me?

A police officer or a police community support officer (PCSO) can stop you to carry out a search. An officer does not have to be in uniform – but they must show you their warrant card if they are in plain clothes.

Where can a search take place?

If the police believe you have committed or are about to commit a crime, you can be searched anywhere in a public place.

If you are in a public place, you only have to take off your coat or jacket and your gloves, unless it is believed you are using clothes to hide your identity, or if the stop and search is related to terrorism.

What should I do if I’m stopped and searched?

Advice from Northumbria Police states that you should remain calm, be patient and co-operate with the police.

Officers know that being searched is an inconvenience; they will make the search as brief as possible but also need to be thorough in their work.

You are not under arrest if you are subject to a stop and search, but do not refuse to be searched.

The process is not voluntary and the law gives the police powers to carry out this process.

In almost all cases, an individual should be given a record of the stop and search at the time it happens.