A new scheme to reform police use of stop and search powers was announced by the Home Secretary Theresa May.
When used properly, stop and search powers are an important tool in helping the police fight and prevent crime. However, when innocent people are stopped and searched for no good reason, it is hugely damaging to the relationship between the police and the public and is a waste of police time.
The Best Use of Stop and Search scheme is designed to ensure the police take a more intelligence-led approach to using these powers, and ensure they are only used when necessary. All police forces will publish their stop and search records so communities can hold forces to account. Stop and search data is now available on this site, and in due course, additional information which forces will capture under the scheme will also be published. From next year, our crime maps will show stop and searches in all force areas, allowing you to see how your police force is using stop and search.
The Home Secretary revealed that all 43 police forces in England and Wales have signed up to the voluntary scheme, and by November, all forces will have implemented all aspects of the scheme, including:
Giving members of the public the opportunity to observe stop and search in practice.
Introducing a community complaints trigger, so the police must explain to the public how stop and search powers are being used after a large volume of complaints.
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. “I am delighted that all 43 police forces have signed up to the 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. “I hope it will also go a long way to building public confidence and forging an important link between communities and the police.”