Theresa May: "Cleveland Police are dedicated to reforming their use of stop and search powers."
Cleveland Police have fully launched the Government’s Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme.
The voluntary scheme, which was announced by the Home Secretary in April, is part of a range of measures that will contribute to a reduction in the overall use of stop and search, lead to better and more intelligence-led stop and searches and more effective outcomes.
Thirty-five forces, including Cleveland Police, will be implementing all aspects of 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;
- give members of the public the opportunity to observe stop and search in practice; and
- introduce a community complaints trigger – ensuring that complaints are properly monitored and scrutinised.
Home Secretary Theresa May said:
“Stop and search powers are vital in the fight against crime when used correctly. However, they must be applied fairly and only when needed – and in a way that builds community confidence rather than undermining it.
“Cleveland Police are dedicated to reforming their use of stop and search powers, saving officers’ time and increasing transparency within the local community. I’m delighted they have now fully implemented the Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme.
“Stop and search reforms are working. The number of searches are down under this government, by 15% in the last year alone. But we cannot be complacent and must ensure that the public can hold the police to account for their use of these powers.”
Assistant Chief Constable Simon Nickless said: “Stop and search powers are vital in today’s policing landscape in order for officers to reduce crime, prevent reoffending and identify those committing crime on Teesside.
“We must however do this in a way that maintains the trust and confidence within communities and strengthens the ability for the public to challenge us about how we use stop and search. We have launched a scrutiny panel to hold the Force to account, improved information to those who are subject to a stop and search and are increasing training to officers.
“Fully implementing this voluntary scheme is a step in the right direction for Cleveland Police, and supports recent HMIC findings that the Force is using stop and search powers appropriately to disrupt crime.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said: “The public should have nothing to fear about the use of stop and search powers within communities, but in order for people to have confidence in its use, the process must continue to be as open and transparent as possible. I’m pleased the voluntary scheme has been fully implemented by Cleveland Police and shows that the Force continues to look for ways to improve the service it delivers.”
The Home Secretary also announced today that British Transport Police will be joining the scheme before the end of the year. The Home Office is working with BTP to ensure that they are able to implement the scheme’s requirements early in the new year.
From today West Mercia and Nottinghamshire police will begin a pilot scheme that will digitally map stop and searches, identifying locations where stop and searches take place using geo-mapping technology. The data will be uploaded to Police.uk so the public can monitor the use of stop and search powers.
And following an eight-week public consultation on revising the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) Code A, which governs the police’s use of stop and search, the Home Secretary will lay a revision to Code A in parliament this week. This revision will make clear to officers what constitutes ‘reasonable grounds for suspicion’ and to emphasise that the misuse of stop and search powers would lead to performance or disciplinary procedures.
Posted on Monday 1st December 2014