8. What Happens If They Find What They Are Looking for?

If the police find a item on you that they suspect may be illegal, they can confiscate it.

At this point they might:

  • choose to arrest you on suspicion of possessing an item that may be illegal
  • issue you with a fixed penalty notice
  • demand your name and address in order to send you a summons at a later date

A summons is a letter demanding that you attend a police station at a specific time, possibly for a telling off, or to be arrested.

Before attending a police station give us a ring to discuss your options. You might want to attend with a solicitor.

If you refuse to give your name and address for the purpose of a fixed penalty notice or a summons, the police have the power to arrest you in order to determine who you are.


COVID-19 has lead to changes in policing & protest law which may affect the information in this guide. Please also read our guide to Coronavirus & Protest Law.

No Personal Details!

You are not required to give your personal details under any Stop and Search power.

Police forces are only required to record 7 items of information collected during a Stop and Search:

  1. Ethnicity
  2. Grounds for search
  3. Object of search
  4. Identity of police officer
  5. Date
  6. Time
  7. Place

You do not need to assist them by providing any information. We suggest you stay silent.