Section 60 – without suspicion searches

The police have the right to search a person and their vehicle in specific areas at specific times if a Chief Officer (Assistant Chief Constable or above) believes incidents of serious violence WILL take place in the area, or persons are carrying dangerous or offensive weapons in the area, and it is NECESSARY to use these powers.  

These powers are granted to the police by Section 60 of the Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1994.

Key changes under the new scheme are;

  • Will only be authorised by a chief officer (ACC and above – instead of a Superintendent) when they reasonably believe that an incident involving serious violence WILL  (as opposed to may) take place and it is NECESSARY (as opposed to expedient) to use these powers
  • The duration of initial authorisations will be a maximum of 15 hours (from 24) and any extension will be a maximum of nine hours
  • It must be communicated effectively to local communities that there is a Section 60 authorisation in place (beforehand where practicable) and when it ceases, so that the public is kept informed of the purpose and success of the operation.

Powers are also in place to allow police officers to stop and search a person whom they reasonably suspect to be a terrorist to ascertain if they have anything in their possession that would confirm this suspicion. In addition, uniformed police officers have powers to stop and search pedestrians, vehicles and their occupants in order to prevent acts of terrorism. These powers are granted to the police by Sections 43 and 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000.


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