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Community Stop Search Scrutiny Panel - Minutes March 2020

Title of meeting: Bedfordshire Community Stop Search Scrutiny Panel
Date: Thursday 5 March 2020
Time: 6.30pm to 9pm
Venue: Youthscape 74 Bute St Luton

Attendees: Chair Montell Neufville, Vice Chair Andy Watts, other panel members; Phil Dickson Earle Lauren Cox, Matt Allen, Paul McGrath, Elaine Keen, Peju Akintomide, Tamar Lovindeer-Robinson, Andy Wyatt, Shadiah Ali, Montie ,Bipin Raja Chenoa Nelson , Caroline Leonard, Shabaaz Uddin, Hina Shafi , Martin White, Jahmaine Davis , Joseph Miller, Carl Bell, Lauren Bell
In attendance Clare Kelly CEO PCCs office, Zoe Frazer PCCs office, Steve Mosley Beds Police,

Welcome, Introductions, apologies

The Chair, Montell Neufville welcomed everyone and introduced himself to new members and apologies were made. MN announced he will be stepping down as Chair at the end of the month, but will continue to provide training and guidance to the panel and its members. MN announced that the Beds Stop and Search Panel has become the model panel for the country.

The panel then introduced themselves one by one.

MN 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

The panel went through the minutes and the actions from the last meeting one by one.

Past Actions that have been completed

  • Action - A thank you letter from Kathryn Holloway (KH) to be sent to Kimberley Lamb (KL) – (Clare Kelly) CK confirmed completion.
  • Action – Steve Mosley) SM will give reminder to officer to show warrant card in future.

Past Actions that are still ongoing:

  • 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. – MN explained that they haven’t been able to share the data as they didn’t receive it till 4th March 2020. MN said he will look into this 6th March 2020.
  • Action – SM to invite Mark Pugh to give a talk to the panel on this matter – SM explained that Mark Pugh was able to come to the panel on this date due to prior commitments but SM would still very much like him to come to the panel and give an update in the future. Further Action: SM and Clare Kelly to talk to Pete Wooley.
  • Action – SM to provide panel with statistics concerning suspects and a breakdown of their ethnic origin regarding particular offences i.e. who are carrying bladed weapons etc. – due to retirement, SM suggested the panel discussed exactly what statistics they would like to see and what they would like them to look like and to sit down with the new lead to discuss. SM suggests a revamp. Further Action: SM, MN, Andy Watts, and Vic (SM replacement) and the new lead for the stats to sit down and specify exactly what they do and don’t need.

Chairs Update, Role of Panel, Sub Group Information

MN explains the importance of data and statistics and how we can use them to make changes.

MN explained a sub panel will now be looking into ‘Use of Force’. The process is still being looked into. MN explained any S&S panel member can join the sub panel. Anyone who isn’t fully vetted can be vetted to join. The first meeting for the UOF sub panel will be on 17th March 2020. This meeting will just be to understand UOF, the powers and the processes.

Panel Governance

The role of the S&S SP 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.

Exercise

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

MN asked the panel to split into smaller groups and to look at 4 written scenarios with ethical dilemmas for Stop and Search. The smaller groups then came up with their verdict. The groups slightly differed in views but mostly agreed. SM assured panel members of the Stop and Search training given to police officers.

SM then explained that Section 60 is a preventative power in relation to S&S. The legislation states this can be instigated by an officer – inspector or above, for an initial period of up to 15 hours. This can be put in place if that officers believes that serious violence may take place. (For example: a stabbing has taken place and police hear that another gang are on its way for retribution).

Stop search video 1 - Footage ref: SS/3000277914/1

Feedback: Marked as Amber

  • GOWLY out of GOWISELY. Missed Identity, Station and Entitlement.
  • Searched under section 1 PACE
  • Officers were calm in the situation, removed the detained person out of the café very calmly so as not to alert the children and mothers in the venue
  • Language and toned used was good by officer to detainee - this helped deescalate the situation
  • The officer (not wearing the camera) was talking down to the detainee
  • Handcuffs were used reasonably
  • Detainee left the café willingly which definitely helped calm the situation

Stop search video 2 - Footage ref: SS/1751714942/15

Feedback: Marked as Green

  • GOWISELY was followed. Everything was spoken, however, very quickly said.
  • Because GOWISELY was said so quickly, the detainee may not have fully understood what the officer was saying. However, the officer did say at the end ‘Do you understand?’
  • The camera wasn’t turned on from the start – advisory
  • Panel questioned why detainee was in handcuffs for a drug stop but then was reminded that he tried to drive away prior to stopping, therefore, believe handcuffs were necessary – (MN reminded the panel that it is the officer’s choice to use handcuffs, even for a drug stop if they believe necessary)
  • The word ‘Twat’ was used by the officer and the panel think this is very unprofessional and should not be used in a point of authority

Break

Stop and Search Figures

SM presented figures up to January 2020.

SM explained Operation Sparkler relates to combating the on-street drug trade so often this will see an increase in S&S. We are currently sitting at a positive outcome rate of 21%, that has fallen over the course of the last two years.

What these figures don’t tell us is, as a finite number, are we seeing less positive outcomes or are we getting the same amount of positive outcomes but we are increasing the amount of S&S taking place. SM said he needs a little more understanding before the panel draw any conclusions.

SM has suggested if disproportionality goes over a set figure that’s been defined by this panel, of the ratio 4:1 white community, we will look at an internal audit to try and establish the reasons why. Also, does the Panel want to set a trigger point with regards to the outcome rate that we can then try and look into what is taking place if it dips below a certain level.

MN explained further that when 100 S&S have taken place, 2 things can happen. Either, they don’t find anything or they find a reason to go into it in more detail.

  • Firstly, they will look into the arrest rate - currently, it is at 6% which is really low. We used to average at 15-18%
  • They will then look into if Cannabis warnings were given – Fixed Penalty Notices, Summons,

MN explained that the reason for ‘the positive outcome rate’ and the ‘no further action rate’ are so important is because if the no further action rate is high (5% or above), it means people are being S&S and nothing has been found. If there is a lot of them then this can cause friction/tension/dislike of police and makes people not want to cooperate. This also means that maybe the intelligence wasn’t there in the first place if the rate is high. If the Article Disposal rate is high and goes above the 21% then it means actually they did have reason.

SM then discussed the rest of the statistics.

With regards to disproportionality, the 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. SM reminded the panel that if the disproportionality rate goes above the rate of 4:1 we will be looking at conducting an internal audit to establish why that is.

SM explained that the stats are based on self-defined ethnicity. (not officer defined ethnicity)

SM suggested, if AW and MN agreed, that the panel and Vic start to look at the officer defined ethnicity further.

The panel then discussed whether it was necessary to have the ‘Time of Day’ stats and what they could potentially use them for. The Panel agreed that these were not needed as they can’t do anything with the data.

SM explained that the geotagging of the locations of the S&S isn’t complete data. SM is working with the ICT to solve the issue and to check if this is down to user error or whether its an issue with the IT system.

SM explained that 66% of the S&S carried out were used to find drugs.

SM stated that because our white, black and mixed raced community all have a positive outcome rate of around 21%, we have not got wide spread of unconscious bias.

Stop and Search Issues

MN explained that some officers often say they are looking for more than one thing, so if they think they may have drugs and a weapon, they are just putting down that they were looking for drugs. MN explained to them that you need to be able to put down more than one thing so that the data is correct. SM explained that unfortunately, you can only click one box and so you have to pick one or the other.(Check this as it is important to rcord the correct reason for the stop)

MN then asked the panel to start a table top discussion about the positive outcome rates. Do we want to have a particular trigger point that we don’t want to get too low based on everything overall and on just the positive outcome rate.

Discussion outcomes:

  • Group 1: Have the positive outcome rates labelled out to what they were, for example, if they found something but were not arrested etc. Action – MN to share out this data as he believes we hold it already. They also do believe they need a trigger point so they can monitor it.
  • Group 2: Suggested to do a phased increase. They believe a gradual is more achievable. For example, another 5% over the next 6 months and building it up. No suggestion on how this could be done.
  • Group 3: If the positive outcome rate reduced and when down to 15% that’s still a 25% drop on what is already being done.
  • Group 4: Thought 4:1 is already quite high, think it should aim to be 3:1.(Disproportionality)

Any Complaints or Professional Standards issues

Andy Watts explained about the data being based on self-defined ethnicity in more detail. AW explained that sometimes the data isn’t even collected nor stated. 70 stop and searches per month, last year, had no data. The officer defining ethnicity data is much higher. This means a huge amount of data is not being used. SM explained that the ‘officer defined ethnicity’ is a mandatory field and the self-defined ethnicity is not a mandatory field.

Action? - CK pointed out that the panel took the other forces data into account when the panel set the 4:1 ratio, so suggests as an exercise looking at other forces data on officers defined from Police UK. MN agreed.

Stop and Search video 3 - Footage ref: SS/2969593745/22

Feedback marked as Green

  • GOWISELY was followed clearly
  • Appropriate behaviour was used
  • Controlled the crowd and the bag situation very well
  • Stayed very calm

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 contact the chairs to facilitate.

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

Stopandsearchscrutinypanel

AOB & Travel expenses for out of town travel

Additional comments from panel:

The forms are much more detailed, which are read beforehand, which is helping the panel understand the situation a lot better.

MN mentioned everyone can claim expenses for travel. Just email MN who wil pass this on.

MN concluded the meeting by thanking SM and Hob Hoque for his dedicated work. CK thanked Montell for being Chair and thanking him for coming back as trainer.

MN thanked everyone for attending.

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