Commissioner supports stop and search scheme29 August, 2014
Lancashire Constabulary is one of 24 forces who have signed up to the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme.
The voluntary scheme, which was announced by the Home Secretary in April, is designed to contribute to a significant reduction in the overall use of stop and search, deliver better and more intelligence-led stop and search, and improve stop-to-arrest ratios. It will also provide the public with further information on the outcome of searches.
Over the coming months, Lancashire Constabulary is working to implement the scheme to:
- Increase transparency by recording all outcomes of stop and search and whether there is a connection between the grounds for the search and the outcome.
- Restrict the use of Section 60 “no suspicion” powers. Already used only when necessary, under this scheme, a chief officer must make the decision whether to authorise the use of such powers. In cases where the chief officer anticipates serious violence, that officer must reasonably believe that violence “will” rather than “may” take place, as it stands now. This change will improve the governance of the use of such searches and requires greater immediate causation to warrant their use.
- Give members of the public the opportunity to observe stop and search in practice.
- Introduce a community complaints trigger.
Assistant Chief Constable Mark Bates said: “We are really pleased to be a part of the scheme and it means that we can work towards greater community involvement, scrutiny and transparency in the use of stop and search powers. Across Lancashire we already have high confidence and satisfaction levels, but being included in the scheme means that we can only improve upon this.
“We will be working hard over the coming months to implement all aspects of the scheme.”
Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: “I support wholeheartedly the pilot of these stop search measures which increase the transparency and scrutiny of stop search powers to the public of Lancashire and I am confident that this will show what an important tool they are in the fight against crime and in the work of the Constabulary to protect the public. The Constabulary has made use of public surveys in the past about its use of stop search and this will continue that good work.”
Home Secretary Theresa May said: “Nobody wins when stop and search is misused, it can be an enormous waste of police time and damage the relationship between the public and police.
“That is why I am delighted Lancashire Constabulary has committed to reforming their use of stop and search by volunteering for the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. It will increase transparency, give us a better understanding of how stop and search is actually being used and help local communities hold the police to account for their use of the powers.”
Lancashire Constabulary is working towards ensuring that stop and search data will be available on data.police.uk. Additional information will be captured and published on this website once the scheme is fully implemented.
The Home Office has also launched a consultation on revising the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) Code A. The consultation on the Code, which governs the police’s use of stop and search, will last eight weeks.