Stop and Search Action Plan

A Stop and Search Summit took place at Tally Ho Police Training Centre, Pershore Road, Birmingham, on Friday 20 September 2013.

There were speakers from:

  • West Midlands Police
  • HM Inspectorate of Constabulary
  • Equalities and Human Rights Commission
  • Independent Police Complaints Commission
  • StopWatch
  • College of Policing

The day included presentations on recording of stop and search, and use of Schedule 7 powers by West Midlands Police. Chief Inspector Matt Markham presented the findings of his recent research with Coventry University on perceptions of Stop and Search in the West Midlands.  There were opportunities for delegates to put their questions and have their say on this vital area of policing business.


The summit indicated agreement for a stop and search action plan that included objectives, deadlines and responsibilities.  At its core were three linked issues: training (with community input), better recording of stop and search and improved public accountability.  It was agreed that the action plan would itself be subject to public consultation.  In summary, the stop and search action plan included:

Training

  • Mandatory stop & search training will be delivered to all front line police officers. The training package will be subject to consultation with representatives of Stop & Search Scrutiny Panels.
  • All front line supervisors will receive additional training regarding their managerial and leadership responsibilities

Better recording

Without solid data, it is difficult to be sure whether stop and search powers are being used proportionately and effectively.  New data recording and analysis processes are therefore in place, offering police leaders much better information about how officers are using the powers.  Better data, coupled to closer oversight, has led to a reduction in the use of stop and search powers but more arrests arising from searches.

On 1st December 2014, West Midlands Police became one of thirty five forces to launch an electronic recording system that provides detailed information about how stop and search is used. The Best use of Stop and Search scheme, launched by the Home Office aims 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; and
  • introduce a community complaints trigger - ensuring that complaints are properly monitored and scrutinised.

Public information

The plan proposes that stop and search data is to be made available via a website portal.  The portal would present information in a similar way to the www.police.uk website, and would be hosted on the force and PCC's websites. 

The portal would enable people to see where and when Stop and Searches have taken place.  It would also be possible to overlay other information, such as crime levels in an area to see how they compare with the number of Stop and Searches taking place.

In future, when a Stop and Search takes place, the person will be given a written reference number.  This reference number could then be entered into the website portal to bring up details of that Stop and Search. 

Public Scrutiny

There are ten locally based stop and search scrutiny panels, which will be invited to meet with the PCC twice a year.

Here, Pamela Cole-Hudson from Gazebo Theatre Company, discusses her involvement in a stop and search scrutiny panel:

See here for more information on the stop and search scrutiny panels.

Body worn cameras

West Midlands Police is piloting the use of body worn cameras.  Their relevance to stop & search will be explored during this pilot.

The consultation ran through November and December 2013 and a report on the results was presented to the Strategic Policing and Crime Board on 7 January 2014.

West Midlands Police and Crime Panel

West Midlands Police and Crime Panel is an independent committee made up of councillors and members of the public that scrutinises and supports the work of the Police and Crime Commissioner. 

See here for more information about the Police and Crime Panel.