2 March 2021
Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton says stop and search can be an effective tool for disrupting crime but officers need training and support to ensure it’s used proportionately.
Tony was speaking after Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary Wendy Williams published a comprehensive report on the disproportionate use of police powers with a spotlight on stop and search and use of force.
Ms Williams said: “Over 35 years on from the introduction of stop and search legislation, no force fully understands the impact of the use of these powers. Disproportionality persists and no force can satisfactorily explain why.”
In 2019/20, black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people were over four times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people, according to the report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).
It also estimated there were reasonable grounds for stop and search encounters in 81.7 per cent of cases – down from 94 per cent in 2017.
The report highlighted good practice by Derbyshire Police of using a specially trained group of volunteers every two months to review the records and body-worn video footage of a randomly selected sample of 10 stop and search encounters and 10 use of force incidents.
Ms Williams said: “We were pleased to find evidence in this Force of lessons being learned, feedback given to officers and improvements put in place as a result of reviewing body-worn video footage.”
Tony has welcomed the inspector’s comments.
“It’s pleasing that the report highlighted best practice within Derbyshire Police and that we’re striving to improve and get better,” he explained, “Stop and search is an effective and important policing tool that has taken weapons off the streets, disrupted crime and saved lives.
“However, we know that it has to be used proportionately if we’re to retain the support of our communities. We’ll work with key stakeholders to ensure our colleagues have the training, supervision and review practices they need so that they have the confidence to use powers proportionately and appropriately.”
Reacting to the report, Paul Odle, chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) Black Asian Minority Ethnic and BAME Belief Group, which this month became part of the HMICFRS External Reference Group on diversity and inclusion, said: “PFEW is fully committed to eradicating all forms of discrimination through community education, awareness and by listening to colleagues and the communities we serve.
“PFEW’s Black Asian Minority Ethnic and BAME Belief Group is part of an ongoing, important conversation on this subject, and we are dedicated to developing a greater cultural understanding around stop and search.”