Best Use of Stop & Search

Dorset Police voluntarily signed up to the Home Office's Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme in August 2014.

The scheme aims to help significantly reduce the overall use of stop and search, deliver better and more intelligence-led stop and search, and improve stop-to-arrest ratios.

Features of the scheme include

By signing up to the scheme, Dorset Police commits to refining and reducing its strategic use of section 60 ‘no-suspicion’ stop and searches.

Section 60 Stop and Searches

If a senior officer (Assistant Chief Constable or above) believes people may be carrying weapons or causing serious violence in a particular area, temporary powers may be authorised under section 60 (S60) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

This means anyone in that area (near a football ground, for example) may be searched for weapons without the police officer having reasonable grounds for each person searched.

Where an S60 has been granted, police officers have the power to stop and search individuals for offensive weapons or dangerous instruments. They may require the removal of certain items of clothing.

Under the Home Office’s Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme, Dorset police will:

Ensure that section 60 stop and search is only used where it is deemed necessary – and making this clear to the public

In anticipation of serious violence, the authorising officer must reasonably believe that an incident involving serious violence will take place

Limit the duration of initial authorisations to no more than 15 hours (down from 24)

Where practical, give advance notice to local communities that there will be a section 60 authorisation. Report on it afterwards so the public is aware of the purpose and success of the operation.

 

Details of S60 Authorisations

In the event that Dorset Police issues a Section 60 authorisation, details will be listed here.

To ensure Dorset Police is fully accountable for its actions, a community complaint will be activated if there is a significant increase in public concern about our use of stop and search.

A community complaint can be activated if Dorset Police receives a significant rise in concerns from the public about its use of Stop & Search.

Examples include:

  • There is a rise in the amount of stop & search related complaints against Police. NB every complaint against Police in relation to stop search encounters will be considered as a standing agenda at every set Panel meeting.
  • There is a significant change in proportionality of those that are subject of stop & search BME likelihood to be subject of stop & search compared to white. 
  • A single event or incident related to stop & search activity that is giving significant cause for concern amongst our communities regarding police use of this tactic. 
  • Any other issue upon consultation with the Dorset Police Lead for stop & search. 

In the event that a community complaint is activated, the Stop & Search Independent Scrutiny Group will investigate.

Dorset Police has established an Independent Scrutiny Group that will hold the force to account on any stop and search issues. The members of the group will reflect and represent the diverse communities of Dorset.

The Independent Scrutiny Group sits at least quarterly and is made up of a diverse range of stakeholders. The group reviews examples of stop & search in practice through actual examination of stop search forms and Police performance data. Dorset Police also writes to a random selection of persons that have been subject to stop search to request feedback. Information and data from these sources is recorded and retained and considered by the Group. In addition, every complaint against Police which concerns a stop search encounter will be considered by the Group.

The Group will be expected to convene when required on occasions out of the meetings schedule when a Community Complaints Feedback Mechanism Threshold has been met. The Feedback mechanism threshold for Dorset will be met if:

  1. There is a rise in the amount of stop & search related complaints against Police.NB every complaint against Police in relation to stop search encounters will be considered as a standing agenda at every set Group meeting.
  2. There is a significant change in proportionality of those that are subject of stop & search BME likelihood to be subject of stop & search compared to white.
  3. A single event or incident related to stop & search activity that is giving significant cause for concern amongst our communities regarding police use of this tactic.
  4. Any other issue upon consultation with the Dorset Police Lead for stop & search.

The Independent Scrutiny Group will be chaired by a member of the group.

The Police and Crime Commissioner or their delegate shall be invited to take part.

If a member of the public wishes to become involved in the Independent Scrutiny Group as a community representative, please contact Dorset Police Stop Search lead Chief Inspector 1605 Pete Browning to arrange an initial communication. Email Peter.Browning@dorset.pnn.police.uk

Dorset Police will deal properly and with integrity upon receipt of Complaint Against Police in relation to stop search activity.

Within Dorset the use of stop and search powers are monitored regularly by the Force Lead for Stop and Search to ensure that the powers are being used fairly and effectively and in accordance with the Law and guidance of the Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme. This page provides links to the Police.uk website and other information on the stop and search activity conducted by Dorset Police.

As well as stop and search activity, the maps and data on Police.uk provide information about the location and outcomes of a number of aspects of policing including crimes recorded in your area but not the wider work by the police and local partners to help make your community safer. If you want to find out more you can explore our force website, get in touch with your Neighbourhood Police Team to find out more, attend a regular beat meeting or contact your police and crime commissioner.

Dorset Police endeavours to update Police.uk before the last working day of each month to enable Police.uk to keep their information current and accurate. The updates we provide help Police.uk map incidents reported to the police, including stop and search activity, in the preceding month. For example, a stop and search encounter conducted by the police on 10th January will be published on the website on or before the last working day of February.”

 

Dorset police is committed to the ongoing evaluation and monitoring of its stop and search activity and creates a formal report on this area of public interaction on a quarterly basis. These reports cover a wide range of statistical analysis and the data they contain is used to compare our activity and performance on local and national levels. I addition to this, the reports are used to discuss our stop and search activity with our Community Scrutiny Panel. 

Click here to read the Stop and Search Overview for Dorset Police.

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