STOP and searches are carried out most commonly to target drugs, alcohol and knives.

In Scotland, an officer must have reasonable suspicion of criminal activity or reasonable cause to suspect that someone is in possession of such items before carrying out the search.The details of all searches should be recorded in each officer's notebook.

Officers can search for drugs under the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act, for weapons under the Criminal Law Scotland Act 1995 and for alcohol under the Crime and Punishment Scotland Act 1997. Police can also conduct searches under the Terrorism Act 2000.