Disclosure Details

Stop & Search 338/16

Dated: 24 Mar 2016

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')

Thank you for your e mail dated 9 March 2016 in which you made a request for access to certain information which may be held by Northumbria Police.

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions. 

You asked:

In order to gain a clearer picture of your policy, I would like to ask a few more questions. Following HMIC  recommendations number 7 and 10, published on the report ‘Stop and search powers 2: are the police using them effectively and fairly?’ in March 2015:

1)      Do you plan to start recording all searches that involve the removal of more than an outer coat, jacket or gloves (as described in PACE Code A 3.6 and Code A 3.7 in an easily retrievable format?

2)      If yes, will the records of strip searches (PACE Code A 3.6 and 3.7) include:

a)      What clothing was removed?

b)      The sex of the officers present?

c)      The location of the search including whether it was conducted in public view?

d)      The age of the person searched?

e)      Whether the removal of clothing revealed intimate body parts?

3. If the answer to question 1 is yes, in what form this data will be shared with the public

a)      Will it available on your force website? Where? How regularly shared

b)      How this data will be shared with the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office? 

c)       How the information will be shared with any community representatives involved in the scrutiny of the use of stop and search powers?  How regularly will it be shared and in what format?  

4)     If the answer to question 1 is yes, when will you begin collecting this data? And how will the data be collected?

5)      Please provide details of the instruction and guidance that you give to officers around searches that involve the removal of more than an outer coat, jacket or gloves (as described in PACE Code A 3.6 and Code A 3.7)?

After seeking clarity  you then confirmed 'that at point 2 of my request I am referring to 'strip searches', i.e. searches that involve the removal of more than an outer coat, jacket or gloves (3.6 Code A, PACE) AND searches involving exposure of intimate parts of the body (3.7 Code A, PACE). I am NOT referring to intimate searches of persons in custody as outlined in Code C Annex A.'


We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted within Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police.

I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows. 

1. Northumbria Police already records all searches that involve the removal of more than an outer coat, jacket or gloves in a format that can be easily retrieved.

2. a) to e) Northumbria Police already records this information for searches involving the removal of more than an outer coat, jacket or gloves.


a) Removal of more than just outer clothing is part of the information that is published on Police.UK on a monthly basis.  A link to this information is provided on our force website. We have provided the relevant links below.



b) All searches involving the removal of outer coat, jacket or gloves are subject to audit, the results of which are presented at the Force's Strategic Management Board, attended by the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner.

c) Arrangements for scrutiny of the use of Stop and Search powers by community representatives are presently being reviewed.

4. Not applicable

5. Where, on reasonable grounds, it is considered necessary to conduct a more thorough search that involves the removal of more than an outer coat, jacket or gloves this must be done out of public view, for example, in a police van or police station if there is one nearby.


Due to the different methods of recording information across 43 forces, a specific response from one constabulary should not be seen as an indication of what information could be supplied (within cost) by another.  Systems used for recording these figures are not generic, nor are the procedures used locally in capturing the data.  For this reason responses between forces may differ, and should not be used for comparative purposes.

The information we have supplied to you is likely to contain intellectual property rights of Northumbria Police.  Your use of the information must be strictly in accordance with the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended) or such other applicable legislation.  In particular, you must not re-use this information for any commercial purpose.

How to complain

If you are unhappy with our decision or do not consider that we have handled your request properly and we are unable to resolve this issue informally, you are entitled to make a formal complaint to us under our complaints procedure.

If you are still unhappy after we have investigated your complaint and reported to you the outcome, you may complain directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office and request that they investigate to ascertain whether we have dealt with your request in accordance with the Act.