Cleveland Police has joined a ground-breaking new Home Office scheme which sees details of police stops and searches mapped online.
The Force is one of 14 which launched the stop and search mapping scheme on www.police.uk. The initiative allows the public to see exactly where this important power is used and what the outcome of every stop and search is.
It means for the first time people in the Cleveland force area can see details like the ethnicity, gender and age range of those who are stopped and searched.
The Home Office committed last year to using geo-mapping technology to make stop and search more transparent than ever before, to bring greater accountability to how forces are using stop and search and to improve the way officers use the sensitive power.
In December, the Force joined the Government’s Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme (BUSS), which restricts the use of Section 60 "no suspicion" powers, gives members of the public the opportunity to observe stop and search in practice and introduced a community complaints trigger, ensuring that complaints are properly monitored and scrutinised. Cleveland Police is committed to an intelligence-led approach to the use of stop and search.
Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said: "I’m pleased that we have introduced this new initiative which can reassure the public that we are using stop and search for the right reasons."
Cleveland Police Temporary Deputy Chief Constable, Simon Nickless, said: "Stop and search is a powerful tool for officers to keep the public in Cleveland safe but it has to be intelligence-led and professional to ensure we maintain the confidence of our communities.
"Meeting the standards of the BUSS and launching the online mapping is the first step in showing our communities what we do and why we use stop and search."
Home Secretary Theresa May said: "Mapping the use of stop and search online gives the public and the police a better understanding of how and where these sensitive powers are actually being used.
"I’m delighted that Cleveland Police is participating so people in the force area can view where stop and searches are taking place.
"This scheme is a significant step forward in the Government’s commitment to increasing transparency and is the first time stop and search data has been presented in this way.
"This Government’s reforms to make stop and search more intelligence-led and accountable are working and the number of stop and searches has fallen by a quarter since I became Home Secretary. But we cannot be complacent and must ensure that the public can hold the police to account for their use of these powers.
"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."
Users are being encouraged to provide feedback through a link on www.police.uk during the course of the pilots.
The Home Office is also taking advice from the Information Commissioner’s Office to ensure that published information does not allow individuals to be identified.
Posted on Friday 6th February 2015