West Yorkshire Police have adopted a new policy in an attempt to prevent officers from abusing stop and search powers.
The force has signed up to a voluntary code-of-practice, announced by Home Secretary Theresa May earlier this year.
The Government hopes that a new approach will limit the use of “no suspicion” powers, which allow officers in certain circumstances to carry out a stop and search without any specific grounds.
There will also be an effort to address concerns that ethnic minorities are unfairly targeted – statistics have previously shown that black people are six times more likely to be stopped than those who are white.
And for the first time, information will be made available online about the outcomes of every stop and search conducted.
Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Andy Battle said the new scheme, implemented at the end of last month, would increase accountability.
“Stop and search powers are really important to help us with the work we do to prevent and detect crime and make our communities safer and feel safer,” he said.
“We recognise that these powers need to be used in a targeted and effective way and with professionalism and proportionality.
“We have independent scrutiny panels which look at stop search activity on a regular basis to assess how officers have used these powers and whether the use was both necessary and appropriate.”
By November, all 43 forces in England and Wales will have joined the new scheme.
- For those individuals who are facing criminal proceedings, whether as a result of a stop and search or otherwise, it is important to seek legal advice. At Lester Morrill, our criminal law team are on hand to represent clients who face a range of criminal offences. For more details on how our Leeds-based solicitors can help you, contact us today.