Home Secretary re-admits 13 police forces to ‘Best Use of Stop and Search’ scheme

Home Secretary Amber Rudd

Home Secretary Amber Rudd

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has re-admitted 13 previously suspended police forces to the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. The scheme was launched in the summer of 2014 and requires member forces to demonstrate to the public that they’re using the powers of Stop and Search fairly, effectively and in a way that’s designed to build community confidence.

Requirements include recording the outcome of all stops (including whether there’s a link with the initial reason for the stop), restricting the use of Section 60 ‘no suspicion’ powers, community scrutiny of complaints and offering the public the chance to observe Stop and Search in action.

All 43 forces in England and Wales, as well as the British Transport Police, signed up to the scheme on a voluntary basis. However, an inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) in 2015 found 13 member forces were failing to meet three or more of the scheme’s requirements, and the (then) Home Secretary suspended their membership with immediate effect.

The 13 forces subject to a revisit inspection were Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Cumbria, Gloucestershire, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northumbria, Staffordshire, South Wales, Warwickshire, West Mercia and Wiltshire.

HMIC has just published the findings of its re-inspection, which confirms that all 13 forces are now fully compliant with all features of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. The Home Secretary has therefore written to the chief constables and Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) of these forces confirming that their scheme membership has been reinstated.

Amber Rudd commented: “This Government introduced the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme to ensure that forces apply these powers fairly, effectively and in a way that builds community confidence. Since the scheme has been in place, the number of Stop and Search episodes has reduced, the disproportionate impact on BME communities has decreased and Stop-to-Arrest ratios are at their highest ever level. All forces voluntarily signed up to the scheme two years ago and must deliver on their promised commitments. Any force that fails to do so will have its membership publicly revoked. I welcome the findings from HMIC and have written to the chief constables and PCCs of the 13 suspended forces confirming that I’ve reinstated their membership of the scheme in full.”

In 2014, the Government announced a comprehensive package for reform of the use of Stop and Search to ensure the police use all such powers lawfully, in a targeted and intelligence-led way and that communities are able to hold the police to account for their use.

The Home Secretary added: “Scrutiny of these powers will continue. I have commissioned HMIC to re-examine all forces’ use of Stop and Search next year to ensure the powers involved are being exercised fairly, effectively and proportionately.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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