90 days from today is Sat, 24 December 2022
1 March 2021
Hertfordshire Police Federation chair Geoff Bardell says frontline officers need training and support to help address concerns about the use of stop and search.
Geoff says it will help give the public confidence the powers are being used appropriately and proportionately.
And he said the Federation would work with the Force and other key stakeholders to address the concerns.
He was speaking after the publication of a new report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) on the disproportionate use of police powers, with a spotlight on stop and search and use of force.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Wendy 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.”
According to the report, in 2019/20, black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people were over four times more likely to be stopped and searched than White people.
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.
Forces have been urged to improve their understanding of the tactic by identifying disproportionality, take action to reduce it where required and explain those reasons and actions to the public.
Geoff said: “As a Federation, we’re committed to working with the Force and other key stakeholders to address concerns about the disproportionate use of stop and search. There’s a lot of good work going on, but we know there’s more to do to address those concerns.
“Stop and search is an important tactic that can disrupt crime, take weapons off the street and save lives but the public needs to be assured it’s being used appropriately.
“That includes my frontline colleagues having access to the highest standards of training, support, and equipment, such as body-worn videos, to ensure they’re using the powers proportionately,” he added.
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.”