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Stop and Search - Section 60

Sometimes ordinary stop and search powers aren't enough to keep communities safe as people can only be stopped and searched if the officer has reasonable grounds. A Section 60 allows police officers to stop and search people even if they don't have suspicions about them. 

If a senior officer believes incidents of serious violence may take place in a specific area, or that people will be carrying weapons, or that an incident  and it is necessary to use these powers then they may put a Section 60 in place.

What is a Section 60?

A Section 60 is a power given by an Inspector or above which allows police officers to stop and search anyone in a specific area without needing to have reasonable grounds.

It is granted under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

Why are Section 60s put in place?

A Section 60 is put in place if an Inspector or above believes that people will be:

  • carrying weapons or
  • causing serious violence or
  • an incident involving serious violence has taken place and a dangerous instrument or offensive weapon used in the incident is being carried by a person in a particular area.

It's there to keep people safe. When a Section 60 is in place anyone can be stopped and searched by the police. 

What limitations are placed around a Section 60?


A Section 60 can be put in place for up to 24 hours and may then be extended after this for up to another 24 hours.


When a Section 60 is agreed it is limited to a specific area or group of streets.

What does a Section 60 mean?

It means that police officers can search anyone within a specific area and time frame. The police officer doesn’t need to have reasonable grounds to stop and search you, but they must explain the reasons you are being stopped, including that there is a Section 60 in place.

How can I find out if a Section 60 has worked?

When a Section 60 is in place we will keep the community informed of its purpose and outcomes by providing information on the police website and on local social media, for example local Facebook pages.

How can I help?

A Section 60 is a proactive power used by the police to keep people safe and we urge communities to work with us and report any information. You can contact us directly, or if you prefer to remain anonymous phone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or report online here.