A screenshot from www.police.uk
PCC Sue Mountstevens has welcomed the introduction of stop and search data on crime maps and to be more open about how the power is used.
From today, map-based information showing details like the ethnicity, gender and age range of those who are stopped and searched will be published alongside crime data on www.police.uk. The move will help the police service be more open about the use of stop and search, an issue which is important amongst communities across the country. It has already been recognised as a key issue for local communities, and in September Sue Mountstevens attended a summit held by the Avon and Somerset Police to review how the power is used. Eleven pledges were made by the police to help improve stop and search including using feedback from the local community to learn lessons and educate police officers, involve the community in stop-search training, review how people stopped and searched are informed of their rights and considering using body-cameras to record every stop and search.
Speaking about today’s move to publish stop and search data online, PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “Stop and search is an emotive issue for many people and it something people will often raise with me. It’s a useful tool for the police when used appropriately but the community must have confidence that it is being used fairly. We’ll drive up confidence by being more open, so I welcome this move, but the police cannot become complacent. They need to keep having conversations with our communities and use their feedback to continue improving in this area. The Constabulary have agreed to report on the progress made following their stop and search summit this spring and I look forward to hearing about how the community feel it’s going.”
The Home Office committed last year to using geo-mapping technology to make stop and search more transparent than ever before, to bring greater accountability to how forces are using stop and search and to improve the way officers use the sensitive power.
Home Secretary Theresa May said: “Mapping the use of stop and search online gives the public and the police a better understanding of how and where these sensitive powers are actually being used.
“I’m delighted that Avon and Somerset Police is participating so people in the force area can view where stop and searches are taking place.
“This scheme is a significant step forward in the Government’s commitment to increasing transparency and is the first time stop and search data has been presented in this way.
“This Government’s reforms to make stop and search more intelligence-led and accountable are working and the number of stop and searches has fallen by a quarter since I became Home Secretary. But we cannot be complacent and must ensure that the public can hold the police to account for their use of these powers.
"Stop and search powers are vital in the fight against crime when used correctly. However, they must be applied fairly and only when needed – and in a way that builds community confidence rather than undermining it.”
You can find stop and search data by searching online maps at www.police.uk
Posted on Friday 30th January 2015