Lincolnshire Police are implementing aspects of the the Government’s Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme.
The voluntary scheme, which was announced by the Home Secretary in April, is part of a range of measures that will contribute to a reduction in the overall use of stop and search, lead to better and more intelligence-led stop and searches and more effective outcomes.
Lincolnshire Police are partially implementing this scheme, including working 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.
They will also restrict their 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 so that complaints can properly monitored and scrutinised.
Lincolnshire Police will further implement the gathering of stop and search data once upgraded IT capabilities are delivered in May 2015.
Home Secretary Theresa May said: “Stop and search powers are vital in the fight against crime when used correctly. However, they must be applied fairly and only when needed - and in a way that builds community confidence rather than undermining it.
“Lincolnshire Police are dedicated to reforming their use of stop and search powers, saving officers’ time and increasing transparency within the local community. I am looking forward to May 2015, when Lincolnshire Police have committed to having delivered the remaining elements of the Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme.
“Stop and search reforms are working. The number of searches are down under this government, by 15% in the last year alone. But we cannot be complacent and must ensure that the public can hold the police to account for their use of these powers.”
Assistant Chief Constable Peter Davies added: “The use of stop and search powers by our police officers is an important asset in protecting the public, and needs to be done in a way that inspires public confidence. We are happy to implement this range of measures, reflecting national best practice, to ensure we continue to do that.”
The Home Secretary also announced today that British Transport Police will be joining the scheme before the end of the year. The Home Office is working with BTP to ensure that they are able to implement the scheme’s requirements early in the new year.
Following an eight-week public consultation on revising the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) Code A, which governs the police’s use of stop and search, the Home Secretary will lay a revision to Code A in parliament this week. This revision will make clear to officers what constitutes ‘reasonable grounds for suspicion’ and to emphasise that the misuse of stop and search powers would lead to performance or disciplinary procedures.