Stop and search
The summer riots of 2011 once again focused attention on the way police use stop and search powers. As a result of this renewed concern, in December 2011 the Home Secretary commissioned HMIC to carry out an inspection into the use of stop and search legislation by police forces in England and Wales.
The objectives for the inspection were:
- to determine how effectively and fairly the police service is using the powers of stop and search in the fight against crime;
- to establish whether operational police officers know how to use stop and search powers tactically as part of evidence-based practice to fight crime; and
- to identify how the powers can be used in a way that builds the public’s trust in the police, supporting the legitimacy of the service rather than eroding it.
In our report, ‘Stop and Search Powers: Are the police using them effectively and fairly?’, we found that police use of stop and search powers is too often ineffective in tackling crime and procedurally incorrect, thereby threatening the legitimacy of the police.
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HMIC intends to revisit the police use of stop and search powers within the next 18 months, to assess the progress made against the recommendations in our report.