Sussex Police has launched two key elements of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme.
The voluntary scheme, which was announced by the Home Secretary in April, is designed to contribute to a significant reduction in the overall use of stop and search, tactics deliver better and more intelligence-led stop and search, and improve stop-to-arrest ratios. It will also provide the public with further information on the outcome of searches.
From today, Sussex Police will 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; and restrict the use of Section 60 “no suspicion” powers. Already used only when necessary, under this scheme, a chief officer must make the decision whether to authorise the use of such powers. In cases where the chief officer anticipates serious violence, that officer must reasonably believe that violence “will” rather than “may” take place.
By November, Sussex Police will fully comply with the scheme by giving members of the public the opportunity to observe stop and search in practice; and introducing a community complaints trigger.
The Home Secretary announced that all 43 police forces in England and Wales have signed up to the scheme and 24, including Sussex Police, will implement the additional data recording and “no-suspicion” measures from today. All forces have committed to implement all aspects of the scheme by November.
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. That is why I am delighted Sussex Police will from today reform their use of stop and search powers under the new 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.”
From today, stop and search data will also be available online at data.police.uk.