POLICE STOP AND SEARCH
From Monday 7 March 2011, the police have changed the way they deal with people they stop and ask to account for themselves.
The national recording requirement for encounters with the police known as ‘Stop and Account’ has been removed.
Moira Chapman, the Authority’s lead Member for Diversity said, “Individual police forces can now determine whether local concerns justify the need to record these encounters. Since April 2005, the police have been required to record every ‘Stop’ and ‘Stop and Search’ they carry out and the Authority has scrutinised all the data gathered on a quarterly basis at a Diversity Monitoring Review Group which is chaired by an Assistant Chief Constable and attended by Members of the Police Authority and Independent Advisory Group. To date, we have not discovered any undue cause for concern about the way in which stops have been conducted or who has been stopped. When we have challenged some of the data, a satisfactory explanation has been given. So, the Authority has decided that the Constabulary could reduce the amount of paperwork is has to complete by discontinuing the need to record 'Stop and Account' encounters which will free up officer time to spend solving community problems and disrupting crime.”
During 2011/12 a total of 7,616 Stop & Searches were conducted within tyhe Cheshire constabulary area. This is a decrease of 4,261 Stop & Searches (-35.9%) when compared to the 11,877 Stop & Searches conducted in 2010/11. There were no particular concerns in respect of the reduction in number of Stop & Searches. The tactic of Stop & Search is one that is used in an intelligence-led and targeted way; stopping the right people, in the right locations and for the right reasons. This is the way operational staff are instructed to use it, not as a ‘performance measurement’ tool.
Of the total number of Stop & Searches conducted, 7,205 people (94.6%) chose to self-define their ethnicity as White, 294 (3.9%) defined themselves within a Black and Minority Ethnic category and 117 (1.5%) were recorded as Not Stated.
More information can be found in the 2011/12 Stop & Search Annual Report
When Is a 'Stop' a Stop and Search?
Someone might also be stopped and questioned, but if they not physically searched, this is only a 'Stop'. Not everything is a Stop - There are plenty of occasions when people might talk to police, and most of these do not qualify as either a 'Stop' or 'Stop and Search' for example if someone asks for directions or information, witnesses a crime and is questioned about it to establish the background to the incident or have been in an area where a crime recently occurred and are questioned about what they might have seen.
There will be amendments to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984 and PACE Code of Practice A (Statutory Powers of Stop and Search and Requirements to Record Public Encounters). New legislation creates two different requirements for Stop and Search:-
If a search does not result in an arrest or the person being taken to a police station, the officer carrying out the search must make a written record of it, either electronically on their mobile data terminal or on the paper 'Stop' form, unless there are exceptional circumstances which make this wholly impracticable.
If a search results in an arrest and the person is taken to a police station / custody facility,
the officer carrying out the search will be responsible for ensuring that a record of the search is made as part of their custody record. The custody officer must ensure that the person is asked if they want a copy of the record and, if they do, they should be given a copy as soon as possible.
The officer must make a record of the self-defined ethnicity / the ethnicity as perceived by the officer making the search of the person searched or of the person in charge of the vehicle searched in order that stops can be monitored to ensure that there is no disproportionality amongst one ethnic group versus others. The officer will also record the time, date and place the person (or vehicle) was searched, the reason and grounds for making the search and the identity of the officer carrying out the search.
The person searched must also be told that they are entitled to a copy of the record of the search and if they do they must be given either a copy of the record made on the spot (via the paper 'Stop' form), or a receipt which explains how they can obtain a copy of the full record at a later date by attending their local police station within 3 months of the date of the search.
For the purposes of completing the search record, there is now no requirement to record the name, address and date of birth of the person searched or the person in charge of a vehicle which is searched and the person is under no obligation to provide this information.
There is nothing in law to prevent an officer in any situation from requesting and noting additional information in relation to his or her contact with an individual for intelligence purposes. That remains an operational decision for the officer based on the circumstances of the situation and an intelligence report should be submitted in the usual way.
Want More Information?
Click here for a downloadable copy of the leaflet
More detailed guidance on the stop procedure is available here
There have been recent changes to the application of Section 44 of the Terrorism Act (2000). An officer stopping you under this Act is now required to have reasonable suspicion you are carrying items related to terrorism.
From 1 January 2011, the Coalition Government removed the national requirement for the recording of ‘Stop and Account’. However, the PACE Codes of Practice will allow for continued recording “where there are concerns which make it necessary to monitor any local disproportionality".
The Authority carried out some work to understand how young people felt about their Stop encounters. Read the Stop and Search Consultation report to find out what they said.
If you would like to make a complaint about your experience, please visit our How to make a complaint page.
Association of Police Authorities - 'Know Your Rights' The Association of Police Authorities (APA) has more information in many different languages.You can listen to an audio version of the Stop and search 'Know Your Rights' information APA website
Further information about your rights when dealing with the police can be found on the Community Legal Service website.