National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Stop and Search, Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Hanstock said:
“Stop and search is ultimately a safeguarding power – we use it to prevent crime, identify those who intend to cause harm and disrupt serious and organised crime networks. We recognise it is an intrusive activity. It’s carefully monitored by chief officers and independent scrutiny panels representing members of the public to ensure it is being used professionally, proportionately and guided by intelligence about the threat or risk of harm.
“With rising knife and gun crime, as well as increasing incidents involving acids, police forces are using stop and search to take weapons off the streets and discourage people from carrying them in the first place, as we know that the fear of being stopped and found in possession of weapons is one of the most powerful deterrents.
“It is clear that officers are being more precise in their use of this power with the total number of stops falling, the arrest rate continuing to rise and six in ten stops resulting in an outcome. Sadly, we are seeing young black men disproportionately reflected in knife crime, both as victims and suspected offenders. We are equally concerned that people from BAME backgrounds are generally overrepresented in stop and search figures and in the criminal justice system as a whole. Chief constables will be examining any local disparities in stop and search data and will work directly with local communities to explain the reasons.
“We know that trust in the police is lower among some communities and so we have made greater efforts to include those communities in our scrutiny of stop and search and to build confidence in policing and address the issues that are most important to them.
“The police service will build on the positive impact of College of Policing Authorised Professional Practice (APP) for stop and search and I am confident that the ongoing rollout of body worn video across forces will make the use of these powers more transparent and enable chiefs to conduct a much more detailed review of how they are being used.”
The full report on police powers and procedures is available here.