The power to stop and search is a valuable policing tool in the fight against crime. It’s equally important that communities are reassured that we use stop and search appropriately, honestly, openly and in a transparent manner.

Used correctly it prevents, detects, and deters criminals whilst re-assuring the communities of Norfolk that they have an effective Police Service that they can rely on to protect them from harm.

 

It is important to know that there are no targets for Stop Searches.

The ‘Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme was announced by the Home Secretary in her statement to Parliament on 30 April 2014. The principal aims of the scheme are to achieve greater transparency, community involvement in the use of stop and search powers, and to support a more intelligence-led approach. This should lead to better outcomes, for example, an increase in the stop and search to positive outcome ratio.

 

The features of the scheme are:

  • Data recording – forces will record the broader range of stop and search outcomes e.g. arrests, cautions, penalty notices for disorder and all other disposal types. Forces will also show the link, or lack of one, between the object of the search and its outcome.
  • Lay observation policies – providing the opportunity for members of the local community to accompany police officers on patrol using stop and search.
  • Stop and search complaints ‘community trigger’ – a local complaint policy requiring the police to explain to local community scrutiny groups how the powers are being used where there is a large volume of complaints.

    On average we receive seven complaints per year relating to stop and search, each complaint will now be referred to the established Independent Stop Search Scrutiny Panel. The panel is made up of lay members of the community providing oversight of our stop search practices on behalf of the public, and being a ‘critical friend’ to help us improve our service.
  • Reducing section 60 ‘no-suspicion’ stop and searches by – raising the authorisation of blanket stop search powers to senior officers (above the rank of Chief Superintendent); ensuring that section 60 stop and search is only used where it is deemed absolutely necessary. Authorisations are likely to relate to planned operations and will be put in place with the public notified in advance.

 

By adopting the scheme, forces will use stop and search strategically, which we hope will improve public confidence and trust.

If you feel that you have been treated unfairly then you have the right to complain.

Chief Inspector Jason Broome is the strategic lead for Stop and Search in Norfolk. If you have a question you can contact Ch/Insp Broome and his team by dialling 101.