As we all know, Belly Mujinga, Breonna Taylor & George Floyd are sadly and exhaustively the latest black lives to have been lost due to discrimination and injustice. As our readers and viewers take to the streets all over the UK to protest and vocalise issues and injustices, we would like for everyone to be aware of their rights as they do so! In support, we have put together a bunch of helpful and vital information for you and your safety.
In the event of the following:
Run-ins with the police:
If you are stopped by the police and asked for details, this is known as a ‘Stop and Account’. You are under no obligation to tell them your name, where you are going or what you are doing. They are not allowed to search on the basis of your refusal and you only need to respond if they say you are engaging in anti-social behaviour.
If they somehow believe they have probable cause to conduct a ‘Stop and Search’, you are entitled to ask for their name, where they are stationed, the reason they are searching you, what they expect to find & you are allowed to ask “…under what power?”.
However, under section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, the police do not need reasonable grounds to search as long as that specific area has had section 60 actioned. This is why it is VERY important to ask under what power, because if it is not under section 60 then they have no right to be searching you.
Do not forget that you may also experience a “Vehicle Stop” whilst driving/in a car, in this case, you are legally obliged to stop & will be asked to provide a license or, they may check the condition of the vehicle. Tying into this, you may also fall victim to a “Vehicle Stop and Search”, officers must have probable cause to search your car & you can ask the very same questions as an ordinary stop and search.
Also, some very vital information to remember is that you do not have to accept a caution and say “no” when offered one by a police officer unless a solicitor advises against it. At which point you also have the right to still refuse.
For more in-depth information on police powers please visit https://www.gov.uk/police-powers-to-stop-and-search-your-rights
You are in need of a solicitor/legal help:
If a friend or anyone you know gets arrested and you have any information or are able to support, please contact Green and Black Cross – “an organisation which provides legal support and solidarity to those involved in protest activity” – on 07946 541 511 or email [email protected].
Please wear your gloves and masks as we are still in the middle of a pandemic.
Most importantly, remember what you are going out there to do and shout out and be loud! Please keep safe and exercise your rights and comply where you can.