The College of Policing and the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) have agreed to take steps to improve the use of stop and search – including tackling its disproportionate use on people from Black, Asian, and other ethnic minority backgrounds – following recommendations issued by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) earlier this year.
We published a report in April that identified a wide range of national learning aimed at improving policing practice so that people from Black, Asian, or other ethnic minority backgrounds are safeguarded from stop and searches that are influenced by stereotyping and bias. Today we welcome the College of Policing and NPCC’s acceptance of all 15 recommendations we made to the two organisations.
Responding to our recommendation on commissioning research into the trauma caused predominantly to people from ethnic minority backgrounds, including children and young people, the College of Policing will be carrying out a national survey exploring young people’s experiences of police-initiated contact, including stop and search.
Both organisations have agreed to identify and address disproportionality in the use of force through training and community scrutiny. The College of Policing has also developed a new two-day training curriculum to address issues around de-escalation. The training has already started in some areas and is expected to be completed by all forces by late 2023.
We also asked the NPCC and College of Policing to work together to develop guidelines on how to safeguard people from Black, Asian, or other ethnic minority backgrounds from being stopped and searched because of decision-making impacted by intelligence based upon assumptions, stereotypes, and racial bias to mitigate the risks of discrimination. The College’s Stop and Search Authorised Professional Practice regarding the grounds for a search will now be revised.
IOPC Regional Director Sal Naseem said:
We welcome and are encouraged by both the College of Policing and National Police Chiefs Council’s full acceptance of our recommendations.
Our report this year highlighted the impact stop and search can have on ethnic minority groups, in particular the negative effect it can have on public confidence in policing, so the positive response we have received means police forces can take advantage of this window of opportunity for generational change.
It’s vital frontline officers feel supported with the appropriate training so their delivery of this policing tactic is with care and precision. It’s through this refreshed approach that policing can break the cycle and rebuild bridges with those communities who feel marginalised.
According to Home Office figures in the year ending March 2021, people from a Black or Black British background people were seven times more likely to be stopped and searched than those from a White background.
While people from an Asian or Asian British background, or mixed ethnic background, were approximately two and half times more likely to be stopped and searched than those from a White ethnic background.
The findings and recommendations of the report were derived from stop and search data and independent investigations, appeals, and reviews that have been undertaken by the IOPC since 2018.
The College of Policing and NPCC’s full response can be found alongside the IOPC’s recommendations here: https://www.policeconduct.gov.uk/recommendations/stop-and-search-national-recommendations-april-2022
Moving forward, the IOPC report included questions that we anticipate asking senior officers via a survey in September, in order to assess the impact of our recommendations in each force area. It’s hoped chief constables will take note of the issues highlighted and work with local communities and their police and crime commissioner to consider how best to respond.
The IOPC made four recommendations to The Home Office but they did not accept three of them. However, they did indicate their response relating to commissioning research into trauma surrounding the use of the policing tool had been returned as part of the NPCC/College response given this was a joint recommendation.
Written by: Ryan Tute