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Police officers in various jurisdictions have power to search members of the public, for example, for weapons, drugs and stolen property. This article concerns searches of members of the public who have not been arrested and who are not held in detention. For search powers in relation to those persons see Search on arrest and Searches in detention.

England and Wales

Police powers in England and Wales, allowing police officers to search members of the public for weapons, drugs, stolen property, terrorism-related evidence or evidence of other crimes are known as stop and search powers.

United States

The police in the United States may perform a cursory search of the persons outer clothing for their own safety. Terry v. Ohio. However, they may not remove objects from pockets, as that would constitute a search. Minnesota v. Dickerson. Police are allowed to remove weapons from persons, during the time they are present.



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