Notts Police to record all ‘stop and searches’

Police tape.
Police tape.

Nottinghamshire Police has launched two key elements of the ‘Best Use of Stop and Search’ scheme, Home Secretary Theresa May has said.

From today, Nottinghamshire Police will 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 and restrict the use of Section 60 “no suspicion” powers.

Already used only when necessary, under this scheme, the 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.

By November, Nottinghamshire Police will fully comply with the scheme by giving members of the public the opportunity to observe stop and search in practice and introducing a community complaints trigger.

While stop and search is undoubtedly an important police power, when it is misused it can be counter-productive.

It can be an enormous waste of police time and, when innocent people are stopped and searched for no good reason, it is hugely damaging to the relationship between the police and public.

The voluntary scheme, which was announced by the Home Secretary in April, 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. It will also provide the public with further information on the outcome of searches.

Today the Home Secretary announced that all 43 police forces in England and Wales have signed up to the scheme and 24, including Nottinghamshire Police, will implement the additional data recording and “no-suspicion” measures from today. All forces have committed to implement all aspects of the scheme by November.

Home Secretary Theresa May said: “Nobody wins when stop and search is misused, it can be an enormous waste of police time and damage the relationship between the public and police.

“That is why I am delighted Nottinghamshire Police will from today reform their use of stop and search powers under the new Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. It will increase transparency, give us a better understanding of how stop and search is actually being used and help local communities hold the police to account for their use of the powers.

ACC Simon Torr, of Nottinghamshire Police said: “It is important that we are leading the way as a launch force for this scheme, as we have undertaken a lot of work, training and investment since 2012, to ensure we are getting stop and search right. All our stop and search encounters should be recorded via mobile technology, and officers are accountable for each interaction and are rightly expected to treat people with respect.

“We recognise the impact that inappropriate use of these powers can have on our relationship with the public, so engage regularly with local people to gain feedback on our use of this crucial power and aim to get them involved in more community events to give us an opportunity to show them the data, to help give people understand how and why the power is used.

“We are already ahead of the game with this and all the other aspects of this scheme, and we are continuing to develop how we identify what stop and search looks like in local communities so that we can review stop and search activity against what the local policing priorities are and what the population make up of those same communities are.

“Stop and search is an important power for us and I am determined that we will use it in the way it is intended, to prevent crime and protect the public.”