Police come under public scrutiny over ‘stop and search’ powers

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PEOPLE will be able to monitor how police use powers to search people in the street.

Cleveland Police has fully 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.

Thirty-five forces, including Cleveland Police, will be implementing all aspects of the scheme to:

•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;

•Restrict the use of Section 60 “no suspicion” powers;

•Give members of the public the opportunity to observe stop and search in practice;

•Introduce a community complaints trigger – ensuring that complaints are properly monitored and scrutinised.

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.

“Cleveland Police are dedicated to reforming their use of stop and search powers, saving officers’ time and increasing transparency within the local community. I’m delighted they have now fully implemented the Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said: “The public should have nothing to fear about the use of stop and search powers within communities.

“But in order for people to have confidence in its use, the process must continue to be as open and transparent as possible.

“I’m pleased the voluntary scheme has been fully implemented by Cleveland Police and shows that the force continues to look for ways to improve the service it delivers.”