The Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire has set up a new independent Stop and Search Scrutiny Panel which held its first formal meeting recently.
The panel’s inception is another step towards meeting the requirement of the government’s 2014 Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme that aims to improve trust and confidence in the police. The scheme includes formal data recording, use of ‘lay’ observations by members of the public and the introduction of a complaints ‘community trigger’ where police have to explain their actions to the community when there have been a high number of stops and searches carried out.
Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd said: “Stop and search is a very important and effective tool for policing, when used correctly. It needs to be carried out according to the law and with due respect for those being searched. I am very pleased that a formal panel has now been set up and I will use their findings and observations to continue to hold Hertfordshire Constabulary to account.”
Jeffrey Burke QC, chair of the new panel, said: “Independent scrutiny of how police use stop and search is important to ensure that these powers are exercised in a lawful, reasonable and non-discriminatory way. The panel and its members are wholly independent of the police and represent a broad cross-section of the community in Hertfordshire. We will meet regularly to examine occasions where officers have used the powers and will not hesitate to express approval or disapproval where they have or have not met the required standards.”
A recent inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in January 2015 found that the Constabulary was making good progress against the recommendations in their previous report on the use of Stop and Search.
Commissioner Lloyd was pleased with the feedback and said: “I will expect the force to continue to make improvements, to support the College of Policing to produce national guidance and keep up its internal quality controls. The findings of the new independent panel will also help me to monitor the use of stop and search powers.”
If you wish to contact the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner you can email: firstname.lastname@example.org telephone 01707 806100 or write to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, Harpenden Police Station, 15 Vaughan Road, Hertfordshire, AL5 4GZ.
You can also follow the Commissioner on Twitter @HertsPCC and find out more on his Facebook page: HertsPCC.