North Yorkshire Police has partially launched the Government’s Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme.
The voluntary scheme, which was announced by the Home Secretary in April, is part of a range of measures that will contribute to a reduction in the overall use of stop and search, lead to better and more intelligence-led stop and searches and more effective outcomes.
North Yorkshire Police is implementing two aspects of the scheme to:
- restrict the use of Section 60 “no suspicion” powers
- introduce a community complaints trigger – ensuring that complaints are properly monitored and scrutinised.
North Yorkshire police will implement the remaining elements – increasing transparency by recording all outcomes of stop and search and giving members of the public the opportunity to observe stop and search in practice – by 30 January 2015, joining 35 forces which have already fully launched the scheme.
Chief Constable Dave Jones said: Stop and search powers are a very effective tool which help us to in detect crime, recover stolen property and arrest offenders.
However, the use of stop and search must be based on the best intelligence available to us at the time and done in a manner which is as ethical as possible.
I am confident that by signing up to the Home Office’s Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme we can achieve greater transparency and offer a better service to our communities.
Home Secretary Theresa May said: Stop and search powers are vital in the fight against crime when used correctly. However, they must be applied fairly and only when needed – and in a way that builds community confidence rather than undermining it.
North Yorkshire police are dedicated to reforming their use of stop and search powers, saving officers’ time and increasing transparency within the local community. I am looking forward to January, when North Yorkshire Police has committed to having delivered the remaining elements of the Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme.
Stop and search reforms are working. The number of searches are down under this government, by 15% in the last year alone. But we cannot be complacent and must ensure that the public can hold the police to account for their use of these powers.
The Home Secretary also announced today that British Transport Police will be joining the scheme before the end of the year. The Home Office is working with BTP to ensure that they are able to implement the scheme’s requirements early in the new year.
From today West Mercia / Nottinghamshire police will begin a pilot scheme that will digitally map stop and searches, identifying locations where stop and searches take place using geo-mapping technology. The data will be uploaded to Police.uk so the public can monitor the use of stop and search powers.
And following an eight-week public consultation on revising the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) Code A, which governs the police’s use of stop and search, the Home Secretary will lay a revision to Code A in parliament this week. This revision will make clear to officers what constitutes ‘reasonable grounds for suspicion’ and to emphasise that the misuse of stop and search powers would lead to performance or disciplinary procedures.