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How we use Stop and Search

  • Asking individuals to account for their presence or behaviour is an important part of everyday policing. Stop and search is an additional and legitimate power that is used by Greater Manchester Police to protect our communities, tackle crime and keep our streets safe.  However, we are aware that if used incorrectly stop and search can damage the trust and confidence of our communities.
  • We know that to maintain public confidence in its use, the power must be used in a fair and effective manner. We are displaying fair use through greater transparency and improved engagement with our communities.

Fair use

It is important to measure the impact stop and search has on communities and individuals. This is done through both effective community engagement and community accountability. Every local police division in Greater Manchester has a Local Stop and Search Monitoring Group that scrutinises performance and practice.


  • Public complaints arising from Stop & Search have been historically relatively low in Greater Manchester. We acknowledge that this statistic may not necessarily reflect community opinion about our use of stop and search and encourage feedback from our communities to help us identify a true picture of the trust and confidence that you have in our use of stop and search.
  • Please contact your local Stop and Search Lead Officer if you would like to provide feedback.
  • Youth engagement is a key activity and on many divisions local Neighbourhood Police Officers incorporate stop and search in youth engagement activities which have included presentations, question and answer panels and role plays.

Effective use

  • The effectiveness of stop and search can be measured in a variety of ways from arrests and out of court disposals to the more difficult to quantify, such as the prevention and detection of crime. Police and community relations are an indirect measure of the effectiveness of stop and search. If the use of stop and search causes a loss of confidence within the community, then the principle of policing by consent is undermined and the ability of the police to work in partnership with the community to tackle crime is reduced.
  • GMP no longer incorporates targets for crime reduction, there are no individual numeric stop and search targets.  We believe that if we were to attribute any such targets associated to stop and search, this may have the unintended consequence of influencing officers’ decisions to conduct stop and search.
  • We direct our officers to use the power accorded to them only when the level of suspicion requires it in accordance with the law.  We place emphasis on the quality of the encounter as opposed to the quantity of stops and searches conducted.
  • We welcome the new measures announced by the Home Secretary in April, 2014 and we have agreed to participate in the 'Best Use of Stop and Search' scheme. We will continue to work with our communities and stakeholders to increase effectiveness and public confidence, improve the quality of the encounter and ensure stop and search continues to protect our communities.

We also recognise the definition of a Fair & Effective Stop Search as provided by the College of Policing.  This states that:
A stop and search is most likely to be fair and effective when:

  • the search is justified, lawful and stands up to public scrutiny;
  • the officer has genuine and objectively reasonable suspicion they will find a prohibited article or item for use in crime;
  • the person understands why they have been searched and feels that they have been treated with respect;
  • the search was necessary and was the most proportionate method the police officer could use to establish whether the person has such an item

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