Arresting procedure, my rights and obligations

Stopping and searching by the police in a public place

Under Section 54(2) of the Police Force Ordinance (Chapter 232), police officers may stop a person whom they reasonably suspect of having committed, or being about to commit, or intending to commit, an offence. The police officers can also search that person for anything likely to be of value to the investigation of the suspected offence. The suspicion on the part of the police officers in these circumstances must be “reasonable”, which is to be judged on an objective basis with valid reasons. For example, the actions of a person who is carrying a knife and waiting nervously outside a jewelry shop may give rise to a reasonable suspicion.

According to Section 55 of the Police Force Ordinance (Chapter 232), the police also have the power to stop, search and detain any vehicle in or upon which there is reason to suspect that anything stolen or unlawfully obtained may be found.

Under Section 50(6) of the Police Force Ordinance (Chapter 232), police officers may search an arrested person and take possession of anything they may reasonably suspect to be of value to the investigation of the suspected offence.

**Please note that a person can be searched only by a police officer of the same sex. If there is no female police officer on the spot to search a female suspect, that woman should be brought to the nearest police station so that the search can be carried out by a female officer.