Stop and Search is a valuable tool in the prevention and detection of crime and is part of Gwent Police's everyday activity. Every month we stop and search around 200 people, searching for drugs, weapons, items that may be used to commit a crime, or other articles relating to criminal offences.
Our communities have told us that there are five things that we can do to make sure we treat people with respect when we stop and search them:
- Ensuring that stops are based on intelligence rather than stereotypes or perceptions about a particular community was something that people felt strongly about. People felt that it was important stop and search activity took place in areas where it is most appropriate (for example areas where there is a lot of crime).
- Providing a clear explanation of why a person has been stopped and searched was considered vital as well as the grounds that enable the officer to lawfully search them. The use of jargon and abbreviations should be avoided as this can make it difficult for people to understand what is happening.
- The attitude of the officer was felt to have a big impact on experience, it was important to people that the officer is respectful, polite, limits any embarrassment that may be caused and maintains the person's dignity.
- Consideration of a person's background or culture was also felt to be important. Factors like not making eye contact, or appearing to be drunk or confused may not always mean that something is suspicious. There may be other issues like cultural background, mental ill health, medical conditions or disability that need to be considered. Cultural or religious factors should also be considered when conducting any searches that may be sensitive (for example the removal of religious headwear).
- Remembering the impact and inconvenience that a stop and search can have on someone, and minimising this, particularly if nothing is found, was also considered essential.
As a Force we have a commitment to show the public how we will complete the action required to make good progress in relation to
- recommendations in HMIC's 2013 report "Stop and Search Powers: Are the police using them effectively and fairly?"
- HMIC's 2015 report 'Stop and search 2: Are the police using them fairly?'
- The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Children (APPGC) report in relation to stop search and
- the "Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme", initiated in April 2014 by the Home Secretary
The attached plan shows progress to date and will be updated on a regular basis.
Police powers to stop and search: your rights
Gwent Police Complaints Procedure
OPCC’s quality of encounter survey
Stop and Search Data