Being stopped and searched can be an unpleasant experience, no matter the approach of the police officers involved. But if it’s felt that there has been unnecessary force or an inappropriate attitude, then we'd like to hear about it and, where necessary, act upon it. Likewise, we welcome any suggestions or positive comments you’d like to share.
We're determined to protect our communities by taking knives, weapons, and illegal items like drugs out of the hands of criminals.
One way to do it is by using stop and search, but we recognise that we don't always get it right, and we need your advice to help us improve what we do and how we do it.
Please contact us using the your feedback matters area. It will change how we train our officers, how they use their legal powers and influence how we interact with people.
First and foremost, the officer should treat you with dignity and respect and be fair to you in the circumstances. They need to have reasonable grounds or good evidence to suspect that you're involved in criminal activity and are in possession of illegal items before they stop and search you.
The officer must explain their reasons for stopping and searching you in a way that is clear to you, and they must tell you what they are looking for and what legal power they are using. They must provide you with their name, the police station that they're based at, and show you their warrant card if they're not wearing a uniform. The officer can remove your jacket, outer garments, and gloves only. If there are reasons why a more intrusive search is needed, then you'll be taken to a police station.
The officer will also ask you questions such as your name, address, gender, and ethnicity. This is so we can carefully monitor how fairly officers are using their policing powers. You'll be told also how you can get a copy of the search record.
As I said we don't always get it right. We need your help to get better. Please contact us with your feedback and be part of the changes that we're making to improve how we fight crime and protect people. Thank you.
Tell us about your experience of being stopped by the police
If you feel you’ve had an unpleasant or unsatisfactory experience, you may wish to make a formal complaint. You can do so if you think a police officer has behaved incorrectly or unfairly. For example, if you think an officer has:
been rude to you
used excessive force
abused your rights
arrested you unlawfully
All complaints are investigated and this can take time.
To make a formal complaint and for more information about how complaints are investigated, read our complaints pages. If you've had a positive experience, you can offer us feedback.
You can also tell us about your stop and search experience by completing this quick online survey.
Alternatives to a formal complaint
To raise an issue about something that has caused you concern, or was done well, it may be worth giving feedback. This might be particularly useful if you've witnessed something where, because you were not directly affected, you feel reluctant to make a formal contact, but you still feel unhappy, or pleased, about the way you've seen police officers behave.
Stop and search feedback survey
We want to continue to provide a better service to communities, so it is important we gather your views. We want to know your experience of being stopped and searched in this county.
The online survey is confidential and should only take you around four minutes to complete.
How to get involved
Ride Along scheme
The Ride Along scheme offers members of the public the opportunity to accompany our officers on patrol and experience first hand how stop and search may be used. The scheme enables two-way learning and helps create greater understanding and closeness between the police and the public.
To take part in the scheme you must:
be a resident in the Northamptonshire Police area
be aged 18 or above (people 16 or above may take part under certain circumstances)
undergo criminal record checks; if you have previous convictions, we'll consider your involvement on a case-by-case basis
sign a disclaimer and confidentiality agreement form
sign and agree to the terms of an observer briefing form