Search Legislation

Armed Forces Act 2006

Chapter 2 – Stop and Search

170.This chapter sets out the powers available to stop and search persons and vehicles (which includes ships and aircraft for the purposes of this chapter). The powers available to service policemen are closely based on those available to constables under PACE.

Section 75: Power of service policeman to stop and search persons, vehicles etc

171.This section gives a service policeman the power to stop certain persons and vehicles in a place permitted by section 78 to search for specified things such as stolen goods or controlled drugs. The policeman may detain a person for this purpose and seize any of the specified things if he finds them. A list of definitions of words used is presented at section 77.

Section 76: Stop and search by persons other than service policemen

172.This section provides for others to have similar powers where a service policeman is not available and the authorising officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that a criminal conduct offence would be committed, or that a person who has committed such an offence would avoid apprehension, if the powers authorised could not be exercised before it would be possible to have the assistance of a service or UK civilian policeman.

173.The range of persons who may be searched is narrower than that available to service policemen. It is limited (at subsection (2)) to persons subject to service law and civilians subject to service discipline whose CO (in either case) is the authorising officer, plus persons who fall outside that category but are reasonably believed to fall within it.

174.Subsections (3) to (5) make clear that orders may only be for the search of a particular person or vehicle, and may only be given and conducted when the ordering or authorising officer and the person searching have reasonable grounds to suspect that the circumstances at section 75(2) exist. The authorisation may permit the detention of a person or vehicle for the purposes of the search, and seizure by the searcher of the same articles which a service policeman may seize under subsection (1)(b) and (c).

Section 78: Places in which powers under sections 75 and 76 may be exercised

175.This section describes the places where powers under sections 75 and 76 may be exercised. These include places to which the public has access, and premises used for official purposes by HM Forces excluding service living accommodation.

Section 79: Sections 75 and 76: limitation on searching persons or vehicles in certain gardens etc

176.This section sets out limitations in respect of the search of persons in certain gardens or on certain other land. These limitations apply equally to service policemen and others authorised to stop and search by virtue of sections 75 or 76. In relation to dwellings or service living accommodation, subsections (1) and (2) set out that a person may only be searched there if the authorising officer or service policeman has reasonable grounds to suspect he neither dwells there nor is there with permission from a person who does. Subsections (3) and (4) apply the same approach to the search of vehicles.

Section 80: Searches under sections 75 and 76: supplementary

177.This section sets out the safeguards with regard to the conduct of the search. It provides the person may only be detained for the purpose of the search for such time as is reasonably required to permit the search to be carried out. It also places certain limitations on the search of outer garments.

Section 81: Power to make further provision about searches under sections 75 and 76

178.This section permits the Secretary of State to make further provision analogous to that in certain sections of PACE dealing with search.

Section 82: Application of Chapter to ships and aircraft

179.This section provides that the provisions above which apply to vehicles will also apply to ships and aircraft in the same way.

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