Massive Increase in Stop and Search Across Cleveland Helps in Fight Against Crime
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Cleveland Police saw the largest increase in stop and search across the country between March 2020 and March 2022. Numbers increased threefold from 2,063 in 2020 to 6,210 in 2022.
There has also been a significant increase in those found with prohibited items when searched by officers after being stopped by police, removing drugs and weapons from Cleveland’s streets.
The Force’s strong focus on training and organisational learning has contributed to an increased confidence in officers using stop and search powers, which along with more proactive operations to tackle crime across the region, has led to an increase in stops carried out by officers in order to challenge those presenting as suspicious. The targeted patrols of Neighbourhood Teams are also reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that officers focus attention to the areas with the highest levels of crime and antisocial behaviour.
Stop and search powers are a vital tool in the fight against crime and to keep the public safe from harm. Police officers can use them to address drug offences, burglary, theft, terrorism and violence. They can stop, detain and search a person or their vehicle, if they have reasonable grounds for suspecting that they will find stolen or prohibited articles such as drugs, weapons, stolen property or any other prohibited item.
Cleveland Police ensure that the use of these powers is carried out fairly and with impartiality, and as such there is robust scrutiny of all stop searches carried out by officers, and statistics are regularly reported to strategic independent advisory groups for transparency.
A recently introduced independent scrutiny panel, made up of members of the public, meet bi-monthly to view body worn footage of ‘stop and searches’ and ‘use of force’ to ensure that all guidance is followed correctly and fairly.
Superintendent Marc Anderson said: “By stopping the right people in the right places, we have seen an increase in positive results from these searches.
“Ultimately, we want to prevent crime and keep the public safe. Stopping those acting suspiciously, means that officers can make those checks to ensure that they have done everything in their power to achieve this.
“Stop and search removes the threat from the streets of Teesside, by catching criminals carrying knives or going equipped to steal. The high positive outcome rate also demonstrates that our searches are legitimate and officers are targeting the right people with justification for these searches.
“The robust scrutiny we have in place ensures that stop searches are carried out fairly and reasonably, so that we can use these powers effectively to target those suspected to be involved in criminal activity.”
Cleveland PCC Steve Turner also welcomed the increase in the force’s use of stop and search, saying: “The appropriate and proportionate use of stop and search is a very useful tool in the force’s fight against crime.
“It is particularly effective when tackling organised crime gangs, who deal in illegal drugs and often use a range of dangerous weapons to enforce their trade.
“Whilst crime prevention and education is the ideal solution, the police must provide a deterrent to would-be offenders by enforcing the law and showing criminal activity will not be tolerated here.
“I’ve been encouraged by the measures the force is taking to ensure the use of these powers is appropriate and areas for improvement are quickly actioned through organisational learning.”
The Force is seeking more volunteers to take part in the External Scrutiny Panel, which convenes every two months, rotating around the four local areas. If you would like to submit an expression of interest in this volunteer role, please visit https://forms.office.com/r/tLWGNUk88G