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Police forces to publish stop and search stats online

Police forces to publish stop and search stats online

Categories: Latest News

Sunday February 01 2015

The Bristol Post features an interview with the Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset, Sue Mountstevens, as police forces ready for the publication of stop and search data in constabulary regions on the crime mapping website, www.police.uk.

In July 2013, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary published a report which found that 27% of stop and search conducted by police forces were “unlawful”. The report was followed by a Equalities and Human Rights Commission publication later that year which reasserted the disproportionate use of stop and search powersagainst BME persons. The impact of disproportionate use of the powers on community trust in policing has been reiterated in EHRC publications with HMIC noting it as a “key concern for police legitimacy and public trust”.

The Bristol Post notes improvements the local constabulary has sought to introduce following a summit on the issue last September. The paper observes Avon and Somerset police have committed to eleven pledges “to help improve the practice including using feedback from local communities to learn lessons and educate police officers, involve the community in stop-search training, review how people stopped and searched are informed of their rights and considering using body-cameras to record every stop and search.”

The paper further observes that as of today (31 January) “map-based information showing details like the ethnicity, gender and age range of those who are stopped and searched is [to be] published alongside crime data on the website, www.police.uk“.

In our Police and Crime Commissioner manifesto (2012) and in our submission to the Home Office consultation on Schedule 7 powers (2012) to stop and search at UK ports and airports, we highlighted the significant use of the powers against Muslim persons comparing the number of stops to the proportion of Muslims in the population in demonstration of its disproportionate impact.

Almost a year ago, in February 2014, the Home Secretary was supported in her efforts to  reform stop and search use by police forces by the Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper. In her letter, Cooper offered “cross party talks” to overcome resistance to reforms by Number 10. Cooper wrote, “This issue is too important to be kicked into the long grass. It goes to the heart of people’s trust in the police and the misuse of stop search has the potential to undermine effective community policing. I hope that you will not give in to the Prime Minister’s opposition to change.”

Ms Mountstevens, speaking to the Bristol Post about local reforms, said: “Stop and search is an emotive issue for many people and it something people will often raise with me.

“It’s a useful tool for the police when used appropriately but the community must have confidence that it is being used fairly. [Police] need to keep having conversations with our communities and use their feedback to continue improving in this area. The Constabulary have agreed to report on the progress made following their stop and search summit this spring and I look forward to hearing about how the community feel it’s going.”


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