Join­ing a scheme to pre­vent mis­use of stop and search

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - COMMUNITY -

CRIME has been fall­ing in the Thames Val­ley Po­lice area over­all and so peo­ple in the Che­sham & Amer­sham con­stituency area can feel more se­cure that they, their homes and fam­i­lies will be safe.

It is im­por­tant, though, that peo­ple have con­fi­dence in the work of our po­lice of­fi­cers. Na­tion­ally, one of the things that has caused con­cern is the use of stop and search pow­ers.

It is an im­por­tant power, but, if it is used wrongly, then it can do a lot of harm to the re­la­tion­ship be­tween our po­lice and mem­bers of the pub­lic. Some­one who is in­no­cent, stopped and searched for no good rea­son, could feel that this is not right and that the process is un­just.

Thames Val­ley, like the other po­lice forces across Bri­tain, have vol­un­tar­ily joined a scheme called Best Use of Stop and Search. Dur­ing Au­gust, the Home Sec­re­tary, Rt Hon Theresa May MP, launched the re­forms and said that the mis­use of stop and search pow­ers “can be an enor­mous waste of po­lice time”.

The aim is to be more trans­par­ent about the process of stop and search, by record­ing all the out­comes when searches take place, and by pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion about the con­nec­tion be­tween the grounds for a search and the out­come.

By Novem­ber, all po­lice ser­vices will have put all as­pects of the changes into place.

Pub­lic in­volve­ment is key to mak­ing the process trans­par­ent. Po­lice ser­vices like Thames Val­ley will be giv­ing mem­bers of the pub­lic the chance to ob­serve ‘stop and search’ in prac­tice.

There is also go­ing to be a sys­tem called the com­mu­nity com­plaints trig­ger. If in any area there is a large num­ber of com­plaints, then the po­lice will have to give an ex­pla­na­tion of how they are op­er­at­ing stop and search pow­ers.

Ch­eryl Gil­lan MP for Che­sham & Amer­sham

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