Police sign up to new stop and search scheme

Mark Bates
Mark Bates
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LANCASHIRE Constabulary is one of 24 forces who have signed up to the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme.

The voluntary scheme 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.

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.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Mr Clive Grunshaw added: “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.”

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.