Police suspension from stop and search scheme lifted
Northumbria Police has had its suspension from the national Best Use of Stop and Search scheme lifted.
The announcement, by Home Secretary Amber Rudd, re-admits the force to the national scheme.
The scheme was launched in the summer of 2014 and requires member forces to demonstrate to the public that they are using the powers of stop and search fairly, effectively and in a way that builds confidence in the community.
Requirements include recording the outcome of all stops, restricting the use of section 60 ‘no-suspicion’ powers, community scrutiny of complaints and offering the public the chance to observe stop and search in action.
All 43 forces in England and Wales, and the British Transport Police, signed up to the ccheme voluntarily.
An inspection by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) in 2015 found 13 forces = including Northumbria Police - were failing to meet three or more of the scheme’s requirements.
The-then Home Secretary suspended their membership with immediate effect.
The 13 forces subject to a revisit inspection were: Northumbria, Cambridgeshire; Cheshire; Cumbria; Gloucestershire; Lancashire; Leicestershire; Lincolnshire; Staffordshire; South Wales; Warwickshire; West Mercia and Wiltshire
Re-inspections by HMIC has confirmed that all 13 forces are now fully compliant with all features of the scheme.
The Home Secretary said: “This Government introduced the Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme to ensure that forces apply these powers fairly, effectively and in a way that builds community confidence.
“Since the scheme has been in place, the number of stop and searches has reduced, the disproportionate impact on BME communities has decreased and stop-to-arrest ratios are at their highest ever level.
“All forces voluntarily signed up to the scheme and must deliver on their promised commitments. Any force that fails to do so will have their membership publicly revoked.
“I welcome The HMIC findings and have written to Northumbria Police, which had previously been suspended, confirming that I have reinstated their membership of the scheme in full.”
She added: “Scrutiny of these powers will continue, and I have commissioned HMIC to re-examine all forces’ use of stop and search next year to ensure the powers are being exercised fairly, effectively and proportionately.”
No comment was available from Northumbria Police