Licensed Search Officer (LSO)

Job Family Operational Support
Job Sub Family Specialists Operations
Code OPS-SPOP-SD-Licensed Search Officer v1.0

Role Purpose

Licensed Search Officers work in pairs under the direction of a PolSa on three categories of deployment Counter Terrorism, Crime and Missing Persons, using approved techniques to systematically search in situations where a high level of assurance is required.

Key Accountabilities

  • Maintain accurate search documentation to ensure a record progress of searches and individual search responsibilities and to assist with future planning of searches, maintain evidential records and retain recordable and relevant intelligence.
  • Identify terrorist munitions and substances to prevent the use of explosive devices.
  • Comply with correct procedures and actions, including minimum safety distances to be taken on an explosive or non-explosive find, including evidence handling, to ensure the safety of colleagues and the public and to achieve best evidence.
  • Conduct offensive and defensive systematic searches of area, building, vehicle, route, vulnerable point, including search and seal operations, to locate items sought or provide a high level of assurance as to the absence of items.
  • Conduct dynamic risk assessments to identify hazards or safety issues prior to and during searches.
  • Apply licensed search knowledge and skills in appropriate circumstances as directed by a supervisory officer to undertake effective searches as required.


All roles are expected to know, understand and act within the ethics and values of the Police Service.

The Competency and Values Framework (CVF) has six competencies that are clustered into three groups. Under each competency are three levels that show what behaviours will look like in practice.

It is suggested that this role should be operating or working towards the following levels of the CVF:

Resolute, compassionate and committed

Inclusive, enabling and visionary leadership

Intelligent, creative and informed policing

Education, Qualifications, Skills and Experience

Prior education and experience:

  • Must have passed Standard Search course.
  • Must have passed Premises Search course.
  • Must have passed Missing Persons Search course.
  • Must be licenced by College of Policing for Level 2 Search.
  • Must have passed Licensed Search Officer course.
  • Must requalify during refresher training to renew search licence.



  •  Good communication skills with the ability to listen to others.
  • Able to break down a problem into component parts and determine appropriate action.
  • Able to interpret and apply guidance to a specific activity.
  • Able to work effectively in a team to achieve shared objectives, demonstrating awareness of individual differences and providing support as required.
  • Able to review own performance objectively and to take steps to maintain and enhance competence and professional standards appropriate to the role.
  • Able to proactively develop effective working relationships with colleagues, partners and other stakeholders.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

  • Combine exercises with outside agencies eg Fire Brigade, Military or Search and Rescue.
  • Assist with training packages for search level 1 and level 2.
  • Keep up to date with developments within the search community through all appropriate publications or online communities.

Professional Registration/Licenses

Home Office Level 2 Search License.

Undertake a minimum of four PolSa managed searches in a twelve month period, with no period of inactivity greater than six months, and undertake two days of refresher training in each twelve month period in order to remain qualified and in license.

Links to other Profiles

NPoCC Mercury Profile – Licensed Search Officer (LSO) 32 v1

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