Thursday 3 July 2008 5.23pm
Wasn't this how the Brixton revolt started?
The police do not have the right to search your bags whenever they feel like it, however much they might like to.
The full details of when they do seem to be summarised at the association of Police Authorities' site (Stop and search rights)
As I understand it, in general, they can only search you if either they have reason to believe that you are committing a crime or equipped to do so, or if there is an identified risk of serious disturbance in the area.
If you are stopped, ask why. If they can't give one of the above reasons, refuse them their request, politely and preferably in short words.
Remember that the politicians who tell us that if we have nothing to hide we have nothing to fear are the same ones that refuse the publication of their expense claims.