Greater Manchester Police has signed up to a new stop and search scheme designed to build greater transparency and community involvement in the use of stop and search powers.
The voluntary ‘best use of stop and search’ scheme was launched by the Home Office earlier this year and will be adopted by GMP from 1 December 2014.
Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd said:
“GMP is right to have signed up to this scheme. It demonstrates a commitment to greater transparency and engagement with the people they serve.
“As revealed at one of my public forums earlier this year, stop and search has long been a contentious issue and it will continue to be so. Striking that balance between public freedoms and public safety is a tightrope that GMP must continue to tread.
“Through schemes such as this, the public are given the opportunity to learn how and why such measures are used, and are given the means to complain and demand answers if they are not happy. This is exactly how it should be.”
In line with the scheme GMP has raised the threshold required to authorise a section 60 ‘no suspicion’ stop and search – the blanket power to stop and search people in anticipation of serious violence without any prior suspicion that a person may be carrying weapons – to Assistant Chief Constable or higher. Previously an Inspector or above could authorise them.
GMP have also committed to only use section 60 stops when absolutely necessary, and to make this clear to the public. A section 60 authority can only be in place for 15 hours (previously it was 24) and, in anticipation of serious violence, officers must now believe that violence ‘will’ take place in a specific area, rather than ‘may’.
Other elements of the scheme include a ‘community complaints trigger’ – if there are large numbers of complaints, GMP will have to explain to people how and why the stop and search powers are being used.
GMP will also provide opportunities for members of the public to accompany police officers on patrol to see how they use stop and search.
Tony will be holding another themed public forum on stop and search in the new year.
Find out more about from the Greater Manchester Police website:
More info from gov.uk and the Home Office: