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Cleveland Chief praised for 'proactive approach' to stop and search

Data has shown that an illegal item was found in 44% of all searches carried out in Cleveland between April 2022 and March this year.

Cleveland police officers conducted almost 15% more searches in the year to March 2023, continuing an upward trend which saw the use of section 1 PACE stop and search almost triple between 2020 and 2022.

According to data provided by the force for the Cleveland Police and Crime Panel, officers undertook 7,136 searches between April 2022 and March 2023 – an increase of 14.3% compared to the previous 12 months.

An illegal item was found in 44% of those searches, whether it was the original item officers were looking for or another item.

PCC Steve Turner believes this "sends a message to residents" that the force is striving to make the area safer.

He said: “Cleveland residents regularly tell me that they want to feel safer in their communities, with more visible and proactive policing.

“I’ve been really impressed with the Force’s efforts under Chief Constable Mark Webster to take a more proactive approach to stop and search – resulting in more searches and more illegal items being found."

Cleveland's stop and search lead, superintendent Marc Anderson, added: “By stopping the right people in the right places, we have seen an increase in positive results from these searches.

“The high positive outcome rate also demonstrates that our searches are legitimate and officers are targeting the right people with justification for these searches."

In Cleveland, cases are examined by a stop and search scrutiny panel made up of community representatives. Supt Anderson credits this "robust scrutiny" with helping to ensure legitimacy.

This most recent increase aligns with Home Office figures which showed that Cleveland's use of s1 PACE powers has almost tripled in recent years.

According to the latest annual statistics published last October, s1 searches rose from 2,063 in 2020 to 6,210 in 2022.

Supt Anderson told Police Oracle at the time that this rise can be attributed to higher officer numbers and "improved processes implemented by the force on stop search".

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