Vera Baird, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria has welcomed a new report into the use of police Stop and Search powers.
In December 2014, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) required all forces to complete self assessments regarding progress against ten recommendations made by HMIC in 2013. In addition, Northumbria Police was one of nine forces visited by HMIC, whose report is out today.
Vera Baird said:
” There has never been any serious criticism of the use of stop and search by officers in Northumbria Police. People from black or ethnic minority backgrounds are not disproportionately subjected to these powers and the relatively high number of arrests which follow suggest they are being used well and responsibly.
In my view, one of the reasons why performance in such areas has improved is because of the direct input of members of the public, recruited by me as Police and Crime Commissioner to help scrutinise how these essential but easily abused powers are used.”
Assistant Chief Constable, Jo Farrell said:
“HMIC noted on their latest visit that officers showed good knowledge of their powers and that an extensive training programme has already taken place.
“Pending the delivery of a national training package, we decided to develop our own and to date almost 2,500 frontline officers have taken part. It is designed to improve their understanding both of the use of the powers and of the information we need to record to ensure stop and search is fair, appropriate and effective. This has included supervisors who undertake regular audits.
“We still need to make written and electronic records more accessible so we can continue to ensure that no group is being disproportionately affected, but overall we are pleased to have made good progress”