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Cleveland Police’s External Scrutiny Panel met on 14th December at Redcar and Cleveland College, to view video recorded on cameras worn by officers on duty.
Footage of officers stopping members of the public who appeared suspicious, making checks and searching them for prohibited items was shown to the panel in order to glean feedback of their thoughts on these interactions.
December’s panel saw 11 members of the public coming together to offer valuable insight into what stop and search looks like from the perspective of those with no prior experience of it. By the end of the session, the panel indicated that they had a much better understanding of the necessity for stop and search and use of force and the legislation surrounding it.
The recently introduced independent scrutiny panel, made up of members of the public, meets bi-monthly to view body worn footage of ‘stop and searches’ and ‘use of force’ to ensure that all guidance is carried out fairly and with impartiality.
Last year, figures were released showing a huge increase in numbers for stop and search in Cleveland. This was largely attributed to a focus on training and providing constructive feedback to officers, increasing confidence in using stop and search powers and ensuring that they target the right people in the right places.
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
Superintendent Marc Anderson said: “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. The independent panel adds another layer of scrutiny to this to ensure that we are getting it right from a public perspective, and to increase the public’s understanding of the powers and legislation surrounding 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.
“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.”
The Force is always 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