/ Best use scheme for Stop and Search

  • In August 2014, the Home Secretary Theresa May launched a 'Best Use of Stop and Search' scheme.
  • Greater Manchester Police has signed up to the scheme which reflects many of the innovative changes we have already made regarding stop and search and we are working hard to implement and support our ongoing commitment to making stop and search more intelligence-led and effective for our communities.
  • We have implemented each of the components of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme:
    • introducing higher levels of authorisation before considering the use of Section 60 (the blanket power to stop and search people in anticipation of serious violence without any prior suspicion that they may be carrying weapons)
    • implementing a Community Complaints Trigger
    • providing opportunities for members of the public to accompany police office on patrol.  

Authorisations made under Section 60 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994

  • In line with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme, we have raised the threshold required to authorise a Section 60 authority to Assistant Chief Constable - previously an Inspector or above could authorise.
  • Authorising officers must reasonably believe that violence 'will' take place in a specific area rather than 'may' and can only authorise the use of Section 60 when they reasonably believe it is necessary to do so.
  • We have also reduced the maximum time period that a Section 60 authority can be in place from 24 hours to 15 hours and we will improve the ways that we notify our communities when a section 60 is in place in their area, such as liaising with our community contacts.

Community Complaints Trigger

  • The Home Office has recommended that Forces implement a Stop and Search complaints 'community trigger' - a local complaint policy that requires the police to explain to local community scrutiny groups how the powers are being used where there is a large volume of complaints.
  • Home Office guidance outlines that police forces participating in the Scheme will develop a complaint policy which: ensures individuals stopped and searched are made aware of where to complain; introduces a threshold above which the police are compelled to explain their use of stop and search; and provides an explanation to local community groups responsible for scrutinising the use of stop and search.

Ensuring individuals stopped and searched are made aware of where to complain

Introducing a threshold above which the police are compelled to explain their use of stop and search

  • The number of stop and search related complaints received by Greater Manchester Police are historically relatively low. Due to the fact that so few complaints are recorded, we have been unable to identify a suitable threshold to enable the ‘community trigger’.
  • We appreciate that the low number of recorded complaints may not necessarily reflect our community’s experiences of stop and search and as such we welcome any feedback. Should you wish to provide us with feedback, please contact your local Stop and Search Lead officer whose details are included in the contact list to the right of this page. 

  • Until we are fully aware of the extent of dissatisfaction caused by our stop and search, we will adhere to the requirements of the Best Use Scheme and explain our use of stop and search to our Community Stop and Search Monitoring Groups for each stop and search related complaint that we receive.
  • Greater Manchester Police are dedicated to further building on the support, confidence and trust of our communities.  As such, in addition to the requirements of the Scheme, we will also liaise with our Community Stop and Search Monitoring Groups in the event of any local policing activity that may result in a general increase in the use of stop and search.
  • The local Stop and Search Lead Officer will be aware of any local stop and search related complaints and any increased local stop and search activity.  This officer is responsible for explaining to the local Community Stop and Search Monitoring Group the local policy for stop and search and seeking feedback from them.
  • The activity carried out throughout this process will be recorded within the local Community Stop and Search Engagement Plans which will be published at the right of this page.
  • Information about Community Stop and Search Monitoring Groups and how you can get involved.

Lay Observation

  • In Line with the Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme, Greater Manchester Police provides opportunities for members of the public to accompany police officers on patrol when they might deploy stop and search powers.
  • However, it should be noted that the chances of observing stop and search is minimal:  In the twelve months leading to November, 2014 there was on average only 54 stop and search encounters across the whole Greater Manchester area in any one 24hr period.
  • Under no circumstances will officers look to stop and seach for the benefit of the member of public observing as this would likely render the search unlawful and would be completely against the intention of the stop and search reforms.
  • Should you be interested in accompanying a police officer on patrol please email your request to your local divisional Stop and Search Lead Officer. Please provide your contact details and the reason why you would like to accompany an officer. Contact details of all divisional Stop and Search Lead Officers can be found to the right of this page.

Stop and Search Outcomes

  • A key component of the Best Use Scheme is the requirement on forces to record and publish a broader range of outcomes which could follow from a stop and search encounter.
  • On the 1st September, 2015, GMP implemented a new recording process for stop and search.  This enables us to adhere to the recording requirements of the Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme and to meet all other current national recording requirements of stop and search.

 

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