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Saturday 20th September 2014
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Stop And Search Code Of Conduct Lauched

Tuesday, 26th August 2014 07:37

Police forces across the country will today sign up to a crackdown on the misuse of stop and search powers that have caused tension between officers and the black community.

A new voluntary code will mean the outcome of each stop will be recorded to measure how many lead to an arrest.

There will also be tougher rules around the controversial "section 60" stops where there are no grounds for suspicion.

Under the plans these powers will require higher authorisation - from a chief police officer - and will be limited to 15-hour periods, down from 24.

They will also have to believe that violence "will" occur without the measure, while before it was only if more junior officers thought it might occur.

Some 24 police forces across England and Wales will start implementing the code, which has been brought in by Home Secretary Theresa May, immediately. By November all 43 forces will have signed up.

"Nobody wins when stop and search is misused," said Mrs May. "It can be an enormous waste of police time and damage the relationship between the public and police.

"I am delighted that all 43 police forces have signed up to the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. It will increase transparency, give us a better understanding of how stop and search is actually being used and help local communities hold the police to account for their use of the powers.

"I hope it will also go a long way to building public confidence and forging an important link between communities and the police."

Mrs May believes the way the powers have been used is unfair to young, black men in particular. They are six times more likely to be stopped overall, but this rises to 29 times in some areas.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has called the figure "stubbornly" high.

The Met police, one of the first to sign up to the code, admitted they used Section 60 powers this weekend at the Notting Hill Carnival.

They also brought in Section 60AA powers - through which people can be asked to remove disguises. The force said it was in "response to incidents of violence and intelligence received".

The country-wide reforms are being led by black police inspector Nick Glynn, of Leicestershire force, who said he has been stopped and searched about 30 times when off duty.

Chief Executive of the College of Policing, Chief Constable Alex Marshall, added: "Stop and search powers are necessary to help us tackle crime and keep people safe but it is clear they are being misused too often. This can leave resentment in our communities and hinder our ability to prevent crime."