Watchdog slams police over stop and search use
BLACK, Asian and minority ethnic groups are ‘disproportionately’ subjected to stop and search in Cheshire, the police watchdog claims.
In its ‘legitimacy’ appraisal published on February 11, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate Of Constabularies (HMIC) said that Cheshire Police had not shown evidence that it had tried to work out why.
HMIC added that ‘too many’ stop and search records did not contain ‘sufficient reasonable grounds for conducting the search’.
The watchdog raised further ‘ concern’ over a lack of ‘supervision’ of these records and that it was ‘ clear that Cheshire Constabulary is not complying with the best use of stop and search scheme’.
It came as HMIC also published a broader review of stop and search, accusing police forces of an ‘inexcusable’ lack of improvement, with 13 including Cheshire out of 43 forces not complying with expected standards.
Home Secretary Theresa May has suspended those 13 police forces including Cheshire from the ‘best use of stop and search’ scheme.
John Dwyer, Cheshire Police And Crime Commissioner, said work has already taken place to improve its use of stop and search.
Cheshire police said it had not been suspended from using stop and search powers, but that its suspension means it is no longer included in the list of top-performing constabularies.
There were plus points for Cheshire police in HMIC’s integrity report, with the watchdog praising the appropriate the use of tasers.
It also graded the constabulary as ‘outstanding’ in how it engages with and fairly treats the public, adding that officers were well directed through the ‘We’re Here’ scheme.
The legitimacy report, which assessed ethics and professional standards, graded Cheshire police as ‘good’ overall.
It said staff were ‘generally’ satisfied that recruitment and promotions were fair, transparent and free from bias.
The Chief Constable and his team actively promoted the ‘Spice’ values of service, professionalism, integrity, compassion, and equality and fairness.
Reflecting on the overall report, Chief Constable Simon Byrne said: “We are rightly proud of the service we deliver to the public here in Cheshire – and understanding and interacting with local communities is the bread and butter of everyday policing.”
●● Residents Tom O’Brian, left, Cynthia Brooke, behind, and Irene Belfield, back,with staff member Sophie Doug in the minibus