By David Barrington Barnes
Monday, 23 November 2009
Q) I believe a police officer has the power to stop and search, but do police community support offi cers, RSPCA officers and gamekeepers have similar powers where potential firearms offences or wildlife crimes are concerned? N. WILLIAM By email
A) This is a wide question. In summary, the 1968 Firearms Act section 47 and the 1984 Police and Criminal Evidence Act empower the police to investigate possible firearms offences. In certain circumstances a police constable may require a person to hand over a firearm for examination and may stop and search a person or vehicle. Police community support officers are not specifically authorised persons under section 47. However, some standard and discretionary powers could grant them the power to stop and search persons involved in firearms related offences.
RSPCA officers are not authorised persons for stop and search purposes. Gamekeepers may arrest poachers on their employers land for night poaching, but in the case of daytime poaching they must first require the suspect to give his name and address and ask them to leave the land. Gamekeepers are not authorised to stop and search.
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