1. The National Black Police Association welcomes the Home Secretary’s review and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary’s report into police use of stop search powers. This provides an important and timely opportunity to bring about necessary change and the NBPA encourages participation in the consultation process.
2. The issue is wider than stop and search and relates to all police uses of stop powers including vehicle stops, stop and account, Sec 60, PACE and drugs stops. The public don’t make the distinctions that exist in law between different police stop powers.
3. Recording police stop search activity is critical and the scaling back of recording requirements in 2011 was a retrograde step. More efficient means of recording should be adopted, supported by technology where available.
4. Race disproportionality figures speak for themselves. Whilst this is an issue that affects all stop and search does disproportionately affect Black & Minority ethnic people.
5. Stop and search is one of a number of policing tactics that can be used to prevent and detect crime and work should continue to highlight the benefits of other tactics. Whilst there is still a need for police stop search powers, its value as a crime fighting tool should not be overstated.
6. There is a human cost every time police stop powers are used. Every stop creates a ripple effect amongst family, friends and communities and police stop search powers should therefore only be used when necessary, when lawful grounds exist and when they are based on accurate, specific, reliable and recent intelligence.
7. Good practice exists regarding how stop and search can be used. This should be rolled out and implemented in all forces.
8. Transparent internal and independent external scrutiny of the use of police stop powers should take place in all police forces. This should include scrutiny by people who have themselves been subject to stop and search. There should be effective consequences for officers who misuse or abuse their stop search powers.
9. Effective, face to face training that examines all of the issues above is essential for officers who use stop search powers as well as for those who supervise and manage those officers. Forces should seek to incorporate public perspectives into such training.
10. Chief Constables should be held to account for their implementation of recommendations from the Home Office review and HMIC’s recommendations.
This position statement was written in response to the Home Secretary’s announcement on the 2nd July 2013 of a public consultation into the use of stop search powers, and to the HMIC’s report “Stop and Search Powers: Are the police using them effectively and fairly?”
The consultation can be accessed here and runs until the 24th September 2013.
Any queries relating to this article should be directed to Nick Glynn by email, or via Twitter – @nickglynn.