Consultation on a Draft Code of Practice for Stop and Search: Analysis of Responses

Analysis of consultation responses received on the draft code of practice for stop and search.

7 Recording of section 67 searches (Q5)

7.1 Section 6 of the Code set out requirements to record information in relation to searches carried out under stop and search powers. The Code stated that a record must be made for all searches - whether or not they result in an arrest - and it set out the information to be recorded in each of these situations.

7.2 The Code allowed for a record NOT to be made in exceptional circumstances where it would be 'wholly impractical' for operational reasons, and noted, in particular, that 'it is unlikely to be practicable to make a record of a search carried out under section 67 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act'. This section authorises searches carried out on entry to relevant premises or events, where consent has been given as a condition of entry. Question 5 asked for respondents' views on whether a record was necessary in such circumstances:

Question 5: Do you think it is necessary to record any information about searches carried out under section 67 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2016? (Yes / No)

Question 5a: Which information should be recorded?

7.3 Twenty-seven respondents (19 individuals and 8 organisations) answered Question 5. Table 7.1 shows that almost two-thirds of respondents (63%; 17 out of 27) thought that information should be recorded about section 67 searches, with organisations and individuals equally likely to offer this view.

Table 7.1: Q5 - Do you think it is necessary to record any information about searches carried out under section 67 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2016?

Respondent type































Note: Percentages do not all sum to 100 because of rounding.

7.4 Nineteen respondents (11 individuals and 8 organisations) provided comments at Question 5a. Respondents focused on two main issues: their reasons for answering 'Yes' or 'No' at the first part of the question; and their views on the information which should be recorded. Each of these is addressed below.

7.5 It should be noted that two respondents queried whether people would know what a section 67 search was and whether they would be able to comment in an informed way. Further, respondents - particularly those answering 'Yes' at Question 5 - often provided relatively brief comments, with little direct reference to the specific environment of public events. It is therefore not possible to judge the extent to which all respondents were familiar with section 67 searches and how they might be affected by a new Code, and whether this had an impact on the responses to Question 5 and 5a.

Views on the need to record information on section 67 searches

7.6 Respondents who gave reasons for supporting the recording of information on section 67 searches made the following points:

  • They did not see any justification for excluding any particular type of search from the requirements.
  • They thought it was important that all searches were recorded for supervisory, monitoring and scrutiny reasons, to ensure searches are carried out fairly and in a non-discriminatory way and to foster public confidence and support.
  • They did not think issues of practicality were sufficient for recording to be deemed disproportionate. One respondent specifically queried whether recording of section 67 searches was impractical, suggesting that even at large events a police search (as opposed to a search by security staff) ought to be the exception and the recording of such activity was therefore important.

7.7 Those offering such comments included individuals and public sector organisations (including one policing organisation).

7.8 Those who explained their reasons for believing that section 67 searches should be treated as exceptions generally referred to the specific situation of a public event in their response. They agreed that searches at events were reasonable, and thought that recording of information would be impractical given the large numbers of people involved and the potential adverse impact on the smooth and safe running of events. Policing organisations were amongst those offering such views.

7.9 There were, however, two qualifications offered to the views of those disagreeing with the recording of information on section 67 searches:

  • That basic information on the number of searches carried out might be collected for 'post-operational feedback'
  • That basic demographic information might be recorded in circumstances where attendees were selected for searching (as opposed to a situation where all attendees were searched).

Information which should be recorded on section 67 searches

7.10 Respondents who supported the recording of information on section 67 searches provided a range of views on what information should be recorded (in most cases they did so without specific reference to the public event environment). Some respondents simply called for full information to be recorded, comparable to that recorded for other searches (as set out in paragraph 6.6 of the Code). Others were more specific in their comments, with different respondents called for the following to be recorded:

  • Information about the individual: name, address, age, sex
  • Information about the search: time and place; reason for the search, including details of any specific intelligence leading to the search; what the search was for; the outcome of the search (some thought the latter two items should only be recorded if a prohibited item was found during the search); how the stop and search was conducted; and details of any follow up to the search.

7.11 There were some differing views on the recording of personal characteristics or equalities information (on ethnicity in particular). Some felt this information should not be recorded, while others felt it was important for monitoring purposes, particularly if only a selection of attendees at an event were searched.

7.12 Although most respondents discussed the information that should be recorded in terms of individual searches, a few called for event-level information only to be recorded. This would provide a summary of all searches undertaken and items found at a particular public event, and could be used for operational and monitoring purposes.

7.13 One respondent felt that the information to be recorded should be kept under review.


Back to top