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Government's Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme launched in Surrey
Surrey Police has launched two key elements of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme, Home Secretary Theresa May said today (Tuesday, 26 August).
The voluntary scheme, which was announced by the Home Secretary in April, is designed to contribute to a significant reduction in the overall use of stop and search, deliver better and more intelligence-led stop and search, and improve stop-to-arrest ratios. It will also provide the public with further information on the outcome of searches.
From today, Surrey Police will increase transparency by recording all outcomes of stop and search and whether there is a connection between the grounds for the search and the outcome.
Surrey Police will also restrict the use of Section 60 "no suspicion” powers. Already used only when necessary, under this scheme, the chief officer must make the decision whether to authorise the use of such powers. In cases where the chief officer anticipates serious violence, that officer must reasonably believe that violence "will” rather than "may” take place, as it stands now.
By November, Surrey Police will fully comply with the scheme by giving members of the public the opportunity to observe stop and search in practice, and introducing a community complaints trigger.
Today the Home Secretary announced that all 43 police forces in England and Wales have signed up to the scheme and 24, including Surrey Police, will implement the additional data recording and "no-suspicion” measures from today. All forces have committed to implement all aspects of the scheme by November.
"Nobody wins when stop and search is misused, it can be an enormous waste of police time and damage the relationship between the public and police” said Home Secretary Theresa May.
"That is why I am delighted Surrey Police will from today reform their use of stop and search powers under the new Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. It will increase transparency, give us a better understanding of how stop and search is actually being used and help local communities hold the police to account for their use of the powers.”