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Section 60 stop and searches

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If a senior officer (Assistant Chief Constable or above) believes people may be carrying weapons or causing serious violence in a particular area, temporary powers may be authorised under section 60 (S60) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

This means anyone in that area (near a football ground, for example) may be searched for weapons without the police officer having reasonable grounds for each person searched.

Where a section 60 has been granted, police officers have the power to stop and search individuals for offensive weapons or dangerous instruments.

Where a section 60 has been granted, police officers have the power to stop and search individuals for offensive weapons or dangerous instruments. They may require the removal of certain items of clothing.

Under the Home Office’s best use of stop and search scheme, we will: 

  • Ensure that section 60 stop and search is only used where it is deemed necessary – making this clear to the public before (if practicable) and after the authorisation has expired.
  • In anticipation of serious violence, the authorising officer must reasonably believe that an incident involving serious violence will take place.
  • Limit the duration of initial authorisations to no more than 15 hours.
  • Where practical, give advance notice to local communities that there will be a section 60 authorisation and report on it afterwards so the public is aware of the purpose and success of the operation. 

Current Section 60 authorisations

Officers in Stevenage have been given authorisation to stop and search members of the public suspected to be carrying knives from 5.10 pm today, (Wednesday, March 6) until 7.45am on Thursday, March 7, under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

The Section 60 applies to the whole of Stevenage and means anyone in the town may be searched for weapons without the police officer having reasonable grounds for each person searched.

Stevenage Local Crime Unit Detective Inspector Graeme Walsingham said: “Acting on intelligence, the Section 60 powers are being used to target people we believe to be involved in criminality and are a way for us to disrupt crime and keep the public safe.

“There are serious consequences if you choose to carry a knife. Not only will you face a possible custodial sentence and criminal record, which could affect your job prospects in later life, you could cause yourself or another person serious injury or even death.” 

Section 60 archive

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