Stop and Search code of practice: twelve month review - qualitative report

Findings of a qualitative study which examined evidence on how effectively the Code of Practice was operating since its introduction in May 2017.


1. As noted in the quantitative 12 month review, data provided by the National Stop and Search Unit showed there had been only three authorisations under Section 60 since the implementation of the CoP, providing evidence that there has been no increase in the use of Section 60 authorisations as a way of creating wider opportunities for search under the CoP.

2. Data sourced at the National Stop and Search Database (period, March 2017- April 2018). Available at

3. Young people were interviewed in Peterhead, but police were interviewed in Fraserburgh (with representative from officers that also covered the Peterhead area).

4. McVie notes that during the twelve month period following the introduction of the CoP (June 2017 to May 2018), there were 32,307 encounters involving either a search or a seizure in Scotland, compared to 44,249 during the equivalent twelve month period of the previous year; a 27% reduction in the use of these police tactics.

5. The quantitative report by McVie (2019) notes that this trend can be traced back to the publication of the audit and review of stop and search carried out by HMICS in 2015.

6. It should be noted that the Stop and Search receipt books that are issued to police officers do contain information on the different powers of search despite this feedback.



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