Stop and search in global context

Leanne Weber, Ben Bowling

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Police, Stop! Halte! Igazoltatás! Thamba! Tomare! Pare! Alto! Halt! Arrêtez-vous immédiatement! The command – issued verbally or in the form of a road sign, a roadblock, or a flashing light on the top of a police car – is universal. Police officers around the world have the power to stop, question and search people, their clothing, bags and vehicles in public places. This ranges from street stops of people suspected of possessing prohibited items; ‘suspect passengers’ passing through ports, airports and railway stations; and proactive stop and search carried out in an attempt to prevent serious crime and terrorism. The power to stop, check, interrogate and search, and the way it is exercised, is a contentious aspect of police–community relations and a key issue for criminological and policing scholarship. It offers a fascinating case study in the state use of legal powers. It is a visceral manifestation of coercive and intrusive power and the most publicly visible interaction between state agent and citizen or, increasingly, between state agent and non-citizen. This collection examines the power to stop and search in the context of police studies from various parts of the world. The diversity of geographic examples in this collection of essays is echoed in diverse forms of stop and search and in where, how and why it is used. The similarities and differences in the everyday use of stop and search in different countries enable us to look at some key issues.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-356
Number of pages4
JournalPolicing and Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


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