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Home Office rejects three IOPC stop and search recommendations

The recommendations were made in an IOPC report on the disproportionate use of stop and search on those from Black, Asian and other minority ethnic backgrounds.

The report, published in April, made 18 recommendations in total - with IOPC lead on discrimination, Sal Naseem, saying that the tactic needed to be refined in order to be as effective as possible.

It has been revealed today that while the College and the NPCC have accepted all 15 recommendations aimed at their organisations, the Home Office has only accepted one of four.

It has not accepted the recommendation to review what constitutes reasonable grounds for cannabis possession, explaining that with PACE Code A and the College’s APP, it is best to trust operationally independent Chief Constables and PCCs.

It has also not accepted the recommendation to agree an approach to recording data about the protected characteristics of individuals having other policing powers used on them at the same time as being stopped and searched.

The Home Office has said they have published data on wider police use of force since December 2018, and that it collected data according to what’s proportionate and relevant to stop and search.

The final recommendation which was rejected was to agree an approach to recording data on the use of s.163 powers.

The Home Office said: “We are aware of concerns about a perceived disproportionality in the exercise of s.163 Road Traffic Act powers. Currently there is no requirement to collect data on the use of this power as we believed that this would make the interaction longer, more formal and create an additional burden on law enforcement in recording this information.

“We are also aware that a number of police forces, including the Metropolitan Police Service, have undertaken a piloted collection of this data.

“Any final decision on introducing a requirement to collect data on the use of s.163 would benefit from considering the findings of these pilots, alongside consultation with the NPCC to explore the practicalities of the data collection.”

The NPCC/CoP have previously said that via the Race Action Plan, Chiefs will develop a framework to implement recording vehicle stops under s.136.

The Home Office has accepted, alongside the NPCC and the College, to explore the feasibility of commissioning research into the trauma caused by stop and search, predominantly to those of Black, Asian and other ethnic minority backgrounds.

Following the report, the College will be carrying out a national survey exploring young people’s experiences of police-initiated contact and it has also developed a two-day training curriculum to address issues around de-escalation. This training has started in some areas and is expected to be completed by all forces by late 2023.

In addition, the College’s Stop and Search Authorised Professional Practice regarding the grounds for a search will now be revised.

The report also included questions for senior officers which will go out via a survey in September, designed to assess the impact of the recommendations for each force area.

Home Office figures dating to March 2021, found that people from a Black or Black British background were seven times more likely to be stopped and searched that those from a White background.

IOPC Regional Director Sal Naseem said: “We welcome and are encouraged by both the College of Policing and National Police Chiefs Council’s full acceptance of our recommendations.

“Our report this year highlighted the impact stop and search can have on ethnic minority groups, in particular the negative effect it can have on public confidence in policing, so the positive response we have received means police forces can take advantage of this window of opportunity for generational change.

“It’s vital frontline officers feel supported with the appropriate training so their delivery of this policing tactic is with care and precision. It's through this refreshed approach that policing can break the cycle and rebuild bridges with those communities who feel marginalised.”

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