9 October 2012

The Five Ws of Observing Stop And Search

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A quick guide to how to effectively and accurately observe a stop and search.

Who

Write down the shoulder ID numbers of any officers involved, and names of witnesses or victims.

What

Simply what is happening, for example, police have formed a line stopping people from leaving.

Where

Where did it happen? Junction of High Street and King Street, outside WH Smith.

When

The time is essential! It may be an idea to get used to noting the time at regular intervals even when nothing is happening, so that when an incident happens you can make an approximation of the time from your notes later.

Why

When you have a calm moment, you can note your analysis of events – but be sure not to write anything down that can incriminate the person stopped.

These tips were adapted from Netpol's guidance for legal observers.