National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Stop and Search, Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Hanstock said:
“We are pleased to see that today’s HMICFRS’s assessment of police legitimacy rates 36 forces as good or outstanding with no forces described as inadequate which reflects our commitment to treating people with respect and ensuring that policing is delivered ethically.
“Police forces have made good progress in ensuring stop and search powers are used legitimately and fairly. Officers are conducting fewer stops while becoming more effective at finding weapons, stolen property or drugs after carrying out a search. Police forces now need to provide more data and analysis to help explain and where needed, address any inequalities in how they are using stop and search. I am confident that the ongoing rollout of body worn video across forces will further enable chief officers to assess the circumstances leading to a stop and search and provide balanced explanations to local communities and make stop and search more transparent.
“Stop and search should be regarded as a safeguarding power. With rising knife and gun crime, as well as increasing incidents involving acids, it is vital officers use all powers available to them to take weapons off the streets and discourage people in every way 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.
“We are working closely with the Home Office, College of Policing and a range of independent experts to critically analyses the data we collect, as well as commission further research to help us better understand why some groups, such as young black men, are disproportionately reflected not only in stop and search figures but also as victims of violent crime and across the criminal justice system as a whole.
“I would particularly like to endorse the recommendations made by HMICFRS that police forces to set up external scrutiny panels which represent local communities, particularly reaching out to groups with less trust in the police. These can be highly effective forums for officers to build confidence and engage with the public on sensitive issues like stop and search in a local context.”