Stop & Search Panel Summary

Group:                  Northumbria University

Time / Date:       1000 hrs to 1100 hrs  28th April 2016

Location:             Northumbria University,  Newcastle upon Tyne

Attendees:         A. Sgt 2832 Burton, PC 17 MacGregor, 4 participants.


Background: Northumbria University Students Union was approached to participate in a Stop & Search panel. Students from the Criminology & Psychology course were canvassed by Dr. Kelly Stockdale and 15 students requested to take part.  Unfortunately, only 4 turned up due to exams being held on the day of the panel.

An information pack was provided to participants including:

  • 3 scenario based searches (used to prompt discussion prior to reviewing live searches)
  • A legislation guide for Stop & Search (S1 PACE 1984)
  • Information about best practice when searching
  • Search records for 6 searches and accompanying body worn video for review 

UPDATE

Participants were asked to complete part 1 of a Stop & Search evaluation prior to starting the session. 

Of the 4 who completed the questionnaire:

  • Noone had a negative view of Northumbria Police.
  • All participants knew that police have stop & search powers however only 2 felt they knew their rights.
  • 3 felt that that stop & search was used occasionally or rarely in their area.
  • Only 1 had a definite view on the use of stop & search making neighbourhoods safer
  • 1 agreed that stop & search was used fairly by Northumbria Police, 3 others had no definite view. 

Stop & search records for the searches were checked by the group with the accompanying body worn video footage for each record.  Participants did not highlight any concerns with the completed forms but concerns were raised.  When viewing the body worn video footage the general feedback was positive with participants being happy with the behaviour of the officers towards members of the public. It was noted that on occasions not all information from GOWISLEY was provided by the officer. 

Participants were very keen to talk about how searches are conducted by officers. A short exercise was conducted where the group were required to conduct searches on each other for concealed items. They found the exercise useful & had a better understanding of the difficulties faced by officers when dealing with non-passive subjects. 

None of the participants had experienced stop searches. 

All 4 participants felt that the use of Body Worn Video was a good idea and that all officers should use them. 

 

Group:                  Streetwise Project

Time / Date:       1700 hrs to 1900 hrs  18th May 2016

Location:             Space 2, Pilgrim Street,  Newcastle upon Tyne

Attendees:         A. Sgt 2832 Burton, PC 17 MacGregor, 12 participants.


Background: Streetwise, a nationally awarded charity, has been running since 1991 offering a range of counselling & advice services for young people aged 11 to 25 and plays a vital role in making young people feel safe in Newcastle City Centre. The project has worked with Northumbria Police & the local authority on many occasions to provide a young person’s perspective on a range of issues and assisting with planning for events which may impact on young people e.g. protests.  

The session plans to provide:

  • Pre questionnaire to determine current views & opinions on Stop & Search locally.
  • An overview of the Police powers of Stop & Search
  • View videos of role play stop & search (good practice & bad practice)
  • Opportunity to scrutinise sample of recent Stop & Search forms submitted in June 2016
  • Opportunity to view & scrutinise a number of body worn videos of Stop & Searches (time permitting)
  • Question & answer session
  • Questionnaire about Northumbria Police use of Stop & Search (post panel)
  • Future panel 

The session will be hosted by the Space 2 Youth Pilgrim Street, Newcastle which has large facilities to accommodate a larger group of participants if more wish to get involved.

UPDATE

Panel postponed until 1700 hrs 22/06/2016 due to feedback from the participants that they would not be attending due to impending end of year exams.

UPDATE

Panel cancelled by Police due to clash with another event. Both, Streetwise & Space 2, are keen to participate in a future event when time permits.

 

Group:                  Gateshead Youth Assembly

Time / Date:       1700 hrs to 1900 hrs  12th July 2016

Location:             Gateshead Civic Centre Chambers, Gateshead

Attendees:         PC 2832 Burton, Valerie Ender, around 20 young people from the youth assembly


Background: The Gateshead Youth Assembly is made up of representatives from the secondary schools in Gateshead working to give young people a voice in the borough on important issues highlighted by them including topics such as CSE, bullying, self-confidence, the environment & child poverty.

The Gateshead Youth Assembly was approached to participate in a scrutiny panel in April but was unable to put time aside in a very busy schedule until July. 

The session plans to provide the assembly with:

  • Pre questionnaire to determine current views & opinions on Stop & Search locally.
  • An overview of the Police powers of Stop & Search
  • View videos of role play stop & search (good practice & bad practice)
  • Opportunity to scrutinise sample of recent Stop & Search forms submitted in June 2016
  • Opportunity to view & scrutinise a number of body worn videos of Stop & Searches (time permitting)
  • Discussion about views & concerns
  • Questionnaire about Northumbria Police use of Stop & Search (post panel). 


UPDATE
 

Unfortunately due to illness the Gateshead Youth Assembly was unable to meet as arranged to hold this event. The assembly organisers are keen to participate in this work in the future when time can be found.

The Gateshead Youth Assembly have out time aside between 1700 hrs & 1900 hrs Tuesday 14th March 2017 to run a scrutiny panel at Gateshead Civic Centre.

It is hoped that following an initial panel this can become a regular (quarterly) event at the assembly.

 

Group:                  Northumbria Police Strategic Independent Advisory Group

Time / Date:       9th January 2017

Location:             Middle Engine Lane Police Station, North Tyneside.

Attendees:         T. Supt. Paul Milner, Sgt Gary Querry, PC David Burton, SIAG members


Background: The SIAG (Strategic Independent Advisory Group)considers force-wide strategy and policy. Its aims are to improve public confidence and openness between Northumbria Police and the communities it serves by seeking advice from all sections of the community, minority and majority groups, who have specific skills, abilities, knowledge or awareness of issues affecting those communities with the intention of providing a fair and equitable delivery of services to all.

The session plans to provide: 

  • Brief input about GOWISELY for attendees.
  • Opportunity to view a sample of stop & searches by Northumbria Police officers captured on body worn video.
  • Opportunity to scrutinise sample of recent stop & search forms submitted by Northumbria Police officers. 

UPDATE

03/01/2017 SIAG meeting cancelled

 

Group:                  ACANE (African Community Advice North East)

Time / Date:       10.30 hrs to 12.00 hrs  20th January 2017

Location:             ACANE, Raby Cross, Newcastle upon Tyne

Attendees:         PC 2832 Burton, Sgt 96 Oakes, Vadood Aghajani, 6 residents


Background: ACANE is a lottery funded community project based in the Byker area of Newcastle, assisting the settlement and integration of asylum seekers & refugees from Africa in Newcastle.  The group provides a range of services and facilities to the local community (not restricted to the Black African community) and is a engagement link between Police and the community.

The session plans to provide: 

  • Discussion about relationships between Black African community & Police
  • Local Policing concerns
  • Discussion about Police use of stop & search (local & national)
  • Opportunity to scrutinise sample of recent stop & search forms submitted                          

The session focused on local community issues & the police response to those concerns including discussion about stop & search. Questions were raised about the legalities of Police encounters with members of the public (stop & search, encounters & traffic matters). Discussion and a detailed overview of the powers took place about the powers of stop & search (people and vehicles) as there was clear misunderstanding amongst attendees about the powers police have in the UK. 

When asked attendees commented that there were no issues or concerns amongst the young black African community in the Byker area of Newcastle about Police use of Stop & Search. As parents and a close community group they felt that they would be aware of emerging problems from their children. The group were keen to bring a group of willing young people from the community together over the Easter school holiday period  to speak to Police about stop & search and were particularly interested in their rights being explained to them should they be stopped by Police (GOWISELY information).

 Due to time constraints no stop & search forms were checked on this occasion.

 

UPDATE

Awaiting confirmation of a date for a scrutiny panel & youth engagement panel.

 

Group:                  Newcastle Central Mosque & Islamic Centre

Time / Date:       12.00 hrs  10th February 2017

Location:             Newcastle Central Mosque & Islamic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne

Attendees:         PC 2832 Burton, Sgt 96 Oakes, Suleman Mohammed, Mumtaz Khan &  members of new Mosque Committee        


Background: Newcastle Central Mosque & Islamic Centre has recently undergone a change in the committee overseeing the running of the mosque on behalf of the Newcastle Pakistani Muslim Association. A meeting was held with members of the new committee to discuss future community engagement with the mosque congregation and their families.

 

During the meeting discussion took place about the Police use of stop & search but this was not seen to be an issue which had a detrimental effect on the local community. An opportunity to participate in scrutiny of this area of police work will be considered by the committee if a group of willing participants from the congregations younger worshippers can be found.  It was felt by Mr Khan that the new committee would be working more with the police & local community groups so there is likely to be a good response to participating.

 

UPDATE

Awaiting a response from the Mosque. Delayed due to ongoing legal issues 

                               

Group:                  Northumbria Police Strategic Independent Advisory Group

Time / Date:       1230 hrs – 1330 hrs 6th March 2017

Location:             Middle Engine Lane Police Station, North Tyneside.

Attendees:         T. Supt. Paul Milner, Sgt Gary Querry, PC David Burton, 10 x SIAG members, Garry Armstrong (HMIC)


 
Background: The SIAG (Strategic Independent Advisory Group) considers force-wide strategy and policy. Its aims are to improve public confidence and openness between Northumbria Police and the communities it serves by seeking advice from all sections of the community, minority and majority groups, who have specific skills, abilities, knowledge or awareness of issues affecting those communities with the intention of providing a fair and equitable delivery of services to all.

 

The session plans to provide:

  • Brief input about GOWISELY for attendees.
  • Opportunity to view a sample of stop & searches by Northumbria Police officers captured on body worn video.
  • Opportunity to scrutinise sample of recent stop & search forms submitted by Northumbria Police officers.

 

UPDATE

Session opened by Supt. Milner who provided a brief update on the forthcoming roll out of the Stop & Search recording app for Northumbria officers which will be added to every operational officer’s phablet device. This app will improve the quality of the Stop & Search records (rather than paper based hand written forms), other benefits include GPS capabilities, photographs of subjects being available to officers. The roll out is expected to begin mid April 2017.

The planned roll out of Stop & Search training for all officers across the force using a College of Policing approved package is expected to begin in April, taking around 5 weeks to reach all officers.

The Chair of the SIAG commented that the group were already involved with Stop & Search training for new recruits in relation to unconscious bias.

The panel were provided with a brief overview of GOWISELY and police powers for Stop & Search prior to watching 3 separate body worn videos of real life searches conducted recently. A copy of the stop & search form submitted by the searching officer was provided.

Panel members raised issues & concerns about: 

  • Difficulty in reading the information submitted on the forms by officers.
  • How language difficulties are addressed (not an issue with any of the searches shown).
  • Potential difficulties with subjects from different cultures not aware of stop & search (e.g. foreign nationals).
  • Officer safety issues were highlighted in the conduct of 2 searches, a training issue.
  • Lack of use of protective gloves by officers.
  • In one search lack of grounds for search was identified.
  • The retention period for body worn video footage of searches.
  • Supervisors’ checks made & recorded on forms. 

A further sample of 10 Stop & Search forms was made available to panel members to view during the session. The only comment made about the quality of these forms was regarding inconsistencies with the quantity of information provided on forms about descriptions of the subject of the search.

The group have requested that in the next session more forms are made available & no body worn video examples.

 

Group:                  West End Youth Enquiry Service (WEYES)

Time / Date:       1600 hrs 13th March 2017

Location:             4 Graingerville South, West Road, Newcastle upon Tyne

Attendees:         PC 2832 Burton, Lucy Ward (Staff), 7 young people 


Background: Service offeringdrop-ins for young people to provide access to the sexual health service with staff also able to talk to about drugs and alcohol, mental health, employment, young people’s rights, debts and benefits and get help with reading and writing.

The session plans to provide the assembly with :-

  • Pre questionnaire to determine current views & opinions on Stop & Search locally.
  • An overview of the Police powers of Stop & Search
  • View videos of role play stop & search (good practice & bad practice)
  • Opportunity to scrutinise sample of recent Stop & Search forms submitted in June 2016
  • Opportunity to view & scrutinise a number of body worn videos of Stop & Searches (time permitting)
  • Discussion about views & concerns
  • Questionnaire about Northumbria Police use of Stop & Search (post panel). 


UPDATE

7 young people (mixed age group from 14 years to 24 years), attended the session.

Prior to the sessions all participants were asked to complete part of a questionnaire focusing on perceptions of Northumbria Police’s use of stop and search & their knowledge of their rights. The participants had a neutral or positive opinion about Northumbria Police, believing that the powers were exercised rarely or occasionally. Most stated that the Police used stop & search to find out if people were carrying ‘things’ (weapons, restricted items or drugs). Most were not aware of their rights if stopped. One person commented that the Police stopped and searched a disproportionate number of black males, but qualified this comment making reference to the media & Metropolitan Police.

The group scrutinised 4 real world search. They found the information recorded some of the forms difficult to read and understand, it was felt that in one case the grounds for a search recorded by the officer (smell of cannabis) was not sufficient grounds and could have been explained better. 

Body worn video footage of each search was viewed. In one search having seen the video, it was felt that the extent of the search was not supported by the grounds provided.

It was noted that officers were providing lots of information to the subjects but that there was a risk that some people may having difficulty in understanding this information (language barrier, mental health issues, substance abuse).

Officer safety was raised and the use of protective gloves.

At the conclusion of the session the group revisited the questionnaire and views about Northumbria Police’s use of Stop & Search were more positive than before the session.

The group indicated a willingness to assist with scrutiny of stop and search forms in the future & were grateful that the police publish stop & search data which they would review.

 

Group:                  Gateshead Youth Assembly

Time / Date:       1700 hrs to 1900 hrs 14th March 2017

Location:             Gateshead Civic Centre Chambers, Gateshead

Attendees:         PC 2832 Burton, PC 935 Ender, Valerie Ender, 10 young people from the youth assembly


Background: The Gateshead Youth Assembly is made up of representatives from the secondary schools in Gateshead working to give young people a voice in the borough on important issues highlighted by them including topics such as CSE, bullying, self-confidence, the environment & child poverty.

The Gateshead Youth Assembly was approached to participate in a scrutiny panel in April but was unable to put time aside in a very busy schedule until July.

The session plans to provide the assembly with:

  • Pre questionnaire to determine current views & opinions on Stop & Search locally.
  • An overview of the Police powers of Stop & Search
  • View videos of role play stop & search (good practice & bad practice)
  • Opportunity to scrutinise sample of recent Stop & Search forms submitted in June 2016
  • Opportunity to view & scrutinise a number of body worn videos of Stop & Searches (time permitting)
  • Discussion about views & concerns
  • Questionnaire about Northumbria Police use of Stop & Search (post panel).

 

UPDATE

10 participants aged 14 to 16 years, a mix of gender, one BME participant.

Prior to the sessions all participants were asked to complete part of a questionnaire focusing on perceptions of Northumbria Police’s use of stop and search & their knowledge of their rights. The majority of respondents were positive about Northumbria Police, believing that the powers were exercised rarely or occasionally. Most stated that the powers were used to keep communities safe and to find out if people were carrying weapons or restricted items. The majority were not aware of their rights if stopped. Most either tended to agree or strongly agreed that the power was used fairly by Northumbria Police & it made neighbourhoods safer.

Stop & Search powers were explained & discussed, including the information required to be provided and recorded by searching officers (GOWISLEY). 2 scenario videos were shown to the group allowing them to see correct stop and search procedures in practice. These scenarios included examples of a BME youth being stopped and the officer dealing with a verbal confrontation (negative search) & a male officer searching the outer jacket pockets of a female (positive search). In both cases the videos sparked discussion around procedures, best practice & officer safety. 

The group selected 4 stop and real world searches to check, from a batch of 9 with body worn video footage available. The group was provided with a copy of the stop & search form for each search & checked each form for the grounds, object, officer details, officer station, paying particular attention to the grounds for the search recorded by the officer. They checked these against the video footage of the officer conducting the searches.

In all cases the group felt that the forms recorded sufficient information for the searches to be lawful, each search was conducted in a manner unlikely to demean the subject.

In 2 cases discussion took place about the extent of searches in public places i.e. did each search go beyond jacket, outer clothing & gloves. In one search, conducted around 2am in a wooded area off a country road it was deemed that was sufficient to be out of public view for a male’s hat to be removed. The other took place in a hospital A&E department in the middle of the night and showed the subject trying to remove various items of clothing which was stopped by the officer searching.

The participants were concerned to see that in all cases officers failed to wear protective gloves when searching which would protect the officers from exposure to infections & also for the safety of the subject from cross infection from officers.  The group felt that this was a very important issue that needed to be fed back to all police officers.

The group was informed about updated stop & search training that will be given to all police officers in Northumbria in the coming months.

The group was impressed with the use of body worn videos and found it helpful to understand some of issues faced by officers when dealing with non-compliant subject or vulnerable people. It was hoped that this technology will be made available to all operational officers in the near future.

The participants expressed a desire to participate in further panels & appreciated the value in independent scrutiny, especially by young people.

The group was happy to tweet an image of them conducting the sessions via @GBYOC.