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Community Stop Search Scrutiny Panel - Minutes December 2019

Title of meeting: Bedfordshire Community Stop Search Scrutiny Panel
Date: Thursday 12 December 2019
Time: 6.15pm to 9.30pm
Venue: Room G101 Polhill Campus, University of Bedfordshire, MK41 9EA

Attendees: Montell Neufville, Clare Kelly, Steve Mosley, Kathryn Holloway, Jackie Sebire, Andy Watts, Sheila Greer Kauranjit Sanghera, Adeel Bashir, Amanda Bell, Muhammad Shabaaz Viddin, Rebecca Fensome, Kelly McDonnell, Matt Allen, Nidhi, Chchatbar, Arriana Vararu, Tomascz Dziedziel, Lorraine Parkingson, Jourdelle Bennet. Chloe Marshall, Caitlin Morton, Lauren Bell, Omar Rafiq

Apologies: Shaidah Ali, Maddy Hill, Myrna Loy, Peju, Florentine Kostontinas Hayley Miller, Kelly Sholgagbade, Joanne Stringer Francoise Julian, Joseph Miller, Montie Fraser, Lauren Cox, David Micheal

Welcome, Introductions, apologies.

The Chair, Montell Neufville, and some other attendees were running a little late (arrived 6.40) so at 6.30 Steve Mosley welcomed the group and other apologies were made. SM explained to the new members of the panel what this meeting entailed and their role within it. All attendees signed the Confidentiality Agreement after its purpose was explained to them.

Minutes of last meeting, matters arising and action points

Minutes from the last meeting were agreed, there were no action points.

Jackie Sebire, the Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) gave an explanation of her role to the panel and explained how Stop and Search (S&S) comes under her command. JS also explained how the Force was responding to an upsurge in violent crime and that she is the national lead against violence across Police Forces. JS shared some statistics including a 25% increase in knife crime, that is roughly an increase of 150-180 cases of serious youth violence reported.

JS explained what action is being taken: that the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) had asked the Home Office for more resources and had secured nearly £2 million in additional funding, for cars, kit, cameras and the implementation of work through the newly established VERU.

JS further explained about use of a targeted intelligence lead approach by uniform and non-uniform officers and bespoke intelligence briefings concerning 22 gangs. This intelligence led approach has led to a higher positive outcome rate.

S60 Stop and Search

This is used when an officer expects serious violence will take place i.e. a stabbing has taken place and police hear that another gang are on its way for retribution. In this situation the ACC will be consulted and may authorise for location based stop and searches to take place without further grounds. Good communication strategy is vitally important, including twitter and Facebook. This S60 has not been used in this county of Bedfordshire in the past few years.

MN emphasised that all stop & searches including section 60’s must be in line with code for ethics, fair and for the purpose of tackling crime. MN also challenged the claim of an increased positive outcome rate as both arrest rate and positive outcome rate has been falling over recent months. If stop and searches were intelligence led there should be a higher arrest rate and positive outcome rate. The arrest rate was now the lowest on record. Therefore the chair wanted firm evidence that the powers were being used fairly and in an intelligence led basis

Action; The force lead to provide the chair with a breakdown of the stats to re assure the panel. The data will be shared with the rest of the panel.

Chairs Update

Montell addressed the group and apologised for being a little late. Asked people to look at the minutes of last meeting.

Previous Action – David Boyle was to do a letter to Kimberley Lamb thanking her for her time on the panel but MF asked Kathryn Holloway, the PCC, if she would do it and it was agreed.

Action; a thank you letter from KH to be sent to KL

MF explained the Ride along Scheme and how members of the public can contact us and we can arrange for them to join an officer on a shift to see first-hand what they deal with on a daily basis.

At the last meeting Montell explained that he had invited people to put their names forward for role of Vice Chair. One person had put their name forward but was inactive. He had asked all other panel members to put their name forward. MN confirmed that confirmed Andy Watts had agreed to put his name forward. MN invited anyone else to stand, no one else wished to. AW was invited to talk about his experience.

AW explained he has been a member of the panel for 2.5 years. First visited after doing some photography and was intrigued by seeing panel members watching the selection of videos and having a range of different opinions. AW said he believes the panel is crucial to community, a form of reassurance that Police will be doing Stop and Search properly and that it is a benefit to officers as it provides valuable feedback, both praise and constructive criticism. An invaluable tool on both sides.

MN said AW has enthusiasm in abundance and he can trust him to give his independent opinion. AW was then voted in as vice chair by a unanimous vote.

MN explained his tenure as Chair would be coming to an end in December 2019 and explained he would be happy to stay to work with the panel and the Force lead to ensure best practice continues. PCC responded saying his decision to help support for the transition period was welcomed.

MN asked people to look at 4 written scenarios with ethical dilemmas for Stop and Search. People split into small groups and gave feedback. Some slightly different views but mostly agreed. SM assured panel members of the Stop and Search training given to police officers.

Montell said he found there were not enough Stop and Search records were being checked by their supervisors. SM confirmed those supervisors with some Stop and Search reports

outstanding for checking on the system have already been reminded.

MN asserted that he believed outcomes were better with intelligence lead Stop and Search and added that vast majority of officers in Bedfordshire do a very good job.

At beginning of S & S panel meetings MN said many of the cases that were reviewed were recorded as amber and now majority are green (only a very few are red), this is evidence of the improvements being made in this area.

Stop and Search issues from the community

Montell invited panel members to raise any concerns from their own communities – none raised.

Role of the panel, reasonable grounds and GOWISELY

Montell clarified the steps in GOWISELY that officers have to use when undertaking S & S. to the panel members

The role of the SSSP is to ensure that stops are carried out fairly and effectively using GOWISELY. Further monitoring can be done through BWV and TuServ. It is essential that data and demographics are available for the panel to view.

Training for both the panel and officers is done from both a national and local level.

Overall the Panel acts as the Force’s critical friend which is independent and has the views of the local community.

Stop search video 1 footage ref: SS/2868222385/1

Feedback: Marked as Green

  • GOWISELY was followed and panel liked the tone of the officer wearing the camera
  • Concern was raised that 4 other officers were standing around the subject in the park, perhaps to stop him running off? Or to keep other people away?
  • Some said officers should have shown warrant card as in ‘plain clothes’ – jeans, not uniforms, but did have yellow Police vests on, radio and camera visible and one officer clearly could be seen wearing warrant card on a lanyard.
  • Debate around although not in uniform they were identifiable as police officers.
  • Panel asked for someone from the force to decide if their clothes constituted uniform or not.
  • Panel did conclude the other officers were not being confrontational.
  • Action SM will give reminder to officer to show warrant card in future.

Stop search video 2 footage ref: SS/1297938759/14

Feedback: Marked as 2nd officer –wearing camera Amber (with a supervisors conversation)

But 1st officer, opposite 2nd officer, given Red. SM to give feedback to his supervisor in another police force. SM to bring more videos of 1st officer to future meetings, where the officer’s life is not being threatened.

  • GOWISELY was followed by 2nd officer. His actions were considered calm and appropriate
  • But missed out mentioning that the subject was entitled to a copy of the reason for the search.
  • A reminder to be given that all officers should introduce themselves, not just one on behalf of the others.
  • GOWISELY not followed by 1st officer, who spoke to the people in the car first. Language and manner was wholly inappropriate, including the use of swear words.

  • Panel concerned his actions may have escalated the situation. Panel asked to see any that he undertakes in the future.

Break

Stop and Search video 3 footage: SS/2050542923/7

Feedback marked as Green

  • GOWISELY was followed, was considered very good and many said exceptional
  • He acted with professionalism and respect, exactly what is wanted in a police officer
  • Would like the officer to be praised and told to keep up the good work.

Stop and Search Figures

SM presented figures up to October 2019. Noted there were spikes in volumes of S&S in May and October 2019. He explained Operation Sparkler (OS) was more active in October and this lead to a slight increase, together with an increase in positive outcomes. MN mentioned it was the highest number on record, at 2829 but the PCC wanted panel members to remember that there has been a 25% increase in knife crime. (however the stop and searches did not relate to knife crime)

MN raised a concern that he expected to see a higher rate of positive outcomes together with the increase in the number of people stopped and searched.

Disproportionality statistics show the highest level of disproportionality is with the mixed race community, being a ratio of 3.1 to the white community. It was discussed that this was lower than the national average however we should always aim for a ratio of 1:1.

PCC asked if panel could be provided with statistics of the ethnic origin of people suspected of an offence and convicted of one.

Action – SM to provide panel with statistics concerning suspects and a breakdown of their ethnic origin regarding particular offences ie who are carrying bladed weapons etc.

PCC asked SM if information could be provided to the panel regarding gang profiles and drug profiles. Perhaps an input from Boson

Action – SM to invite Mark Pugh to give a talk to the panel on this matter.

SM mentioned when looking at statistics of outcomes by ethnicity: where there are positive outcomes (that is where something is found that officers suspected would be found) the similar rates displays a lack of prejudice by the police.

Membership Update & Invitation to join sub group

A reminder was passed to all in attendance that the sub-group coordinated by the chair and vice chair was looking for membership in order to review video footage on a monthly basis, interested parties were asked to make contact with the chairs to facilitate.

If you are interested in joining this vetting is required. If you would like a form please email:

Stopandsearchscrutinypanel@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk

AOB & Travel expenses for out of town travel

MN mentioned everyone can claim expenses for travel but not encouraged if less than 2 miles. No questions raised

AOB or comments, questions – none

MF concluded the meeting by thanking everyone for attending and saying everyone was welcome to contact him via the person who invited them.

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