Stop and search and use of force
Police Legitimacy is defined as the extent to which the community believes that police actions are appropriate, proper and just.
There are certain powers that police have that impact significantly on public perceptions of police legitimacy and overall confidence in policing. Two of these are the power to stop and search individuals and the power to use force.
Warwickshire Police recognise that stop search and using force can be highly emotive and, if misused, can be harmful to trust and confidence in us. They are some of the most intrusive powers we use daily which can affect individuals but also groups and wider communities.
This is the reason we need to ensure we get it right and the reason that we strive to ensure every search, where possible, is recorded on Body worn Video, recorded correctly and then quality checked by their supervisors.
The stop and search and use of force laws are designed to keep everybody safe, including you. They are not intended to harass, hurt or intimidate you, and can help the police detect crime and make our communities safer. Any stop search or use of force should be fair, lawful and justified, and carried out in a respectful and professional manner.
As the Warwickshire Police lead for stop and search and use of force I need to assure myself that my officers are using these powers in a way that is justified, fair and non prejudiced. Sitting alongside this I then need to ensure we are transparent in our work so the public can see what we are doing, can view the data, and provide their own scrutiny to this important area of police work.
I am absolutely committed to sharing as much information with you as I can, in an accessible format that is easy to view and understand. That is why below I have included links to a range of information that can help you understand our approach to stop and search and use of force, how we currently use these powers and how you can become more involved with scrutinising our approach.
Police Legitimacy Meetings
Each quarter I chair a police legitimacy meeting, attended by members of the public and key police stakeholders, where we assess the data and learning on stop and search and use of force and consider ways to improve service delivery.
You can find copies of the minutes of these meetings and the terms of reference for this meeting below:
Police Legitimacy Meetings - terms of reference
Stop and Search and Use of Force delivery plan
We are currently working to a stop and search and use of force delivery plan
Stop and Search and Use of Force data
We produce and analyse a range of data on both stop and search and use of force and you can find the latest data here
Schemes you can become involved in
We have a number of scrutiny mechanisms that you can become involved in including the ride along scheme, Officer Safety Training Observer Scheme, Independent Advisory Groups (IAG), and the Stop and Search Scrutiny Panel.
You can find more information about these schemes below:
Finally we fully acknowledge that our data shows that people from certain backgrounds are more likely to be stopped and searched than others, when compared against resident populations of that ethnicity.
This is often termed disproportionality. Using either stop search or use of force in a disproportionate or prejudicial way, whether consciously or unconsciously, can be hugely divisive and erode trust and confidence in police.
The drivers for disproportionality are complex but we are committed to continually enhancing our understanding and then taking steps to reduce disproportionality where we can. You can find an analysis of Warwickshire Police disproportionality below:
Chief Superintendent Ben Smith - Head of Local Policing and force lead for Stop and Search and Use of Force