Title of meeting: Bedfordshire Community Stop Search Scrutiny Panel
Date: 4 September 2018
Venue: Project 229, Kempston
Attendees: Chair Montell Neufville,(MN) Kimberley Lamb VC, Kathryn Holloway Police Crime Commissioner, Chief Constable, Ch Insp Hob Hoque, PS Mosley, PC Hunter, Sam Denness, Members: Fiorentin Rama, Alyson Bridgland, Carl Belle, Haleema Ali, Katie Nicholas, Peju Akintomide, /Usman Ahmed, Andy Watts, Clare Sieffert, Anita Powell
Apologies:Clare C, Joanna, Sam Nikki Fox, Kelly Shogbade, and guest Jenna Hutber from Police Oracle.
Welcome, Introduction and Apologies
Montell Neufville welcomes everyone to the meeting. The panel members introduce themselves. This included two researchers from Claire Sieffert, Research Associate, Global Justice Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto.
Minutes and actions from the last meeting
The previous minutes were discussed. Not all actions were discussed to due data issues.
Kathryn Holloway gave an update from the previous panel meeting, to update that all feedback that the panel gives was taken to the Strategic Governance Board as well as those Officers and their Supervisors.
PS Mosley updated that during the last two months he had been to all the policing teams and given a SS input. This included TuServe training and highlighting the regular feedback from the panel on policy based issues.
Action: There was another outstanding point which is about how long will details be kept when there is no further action. The old system was 30 days for videos but the receipt form was unclear, will this change with TuServ? SD to feedback to the chair and Vice Chair regarding how long information is kept for.
Chairs Update (Addition)
- Open Society Foundation
Montell attended a meeting at Northamptonshire Police Force HQ where best practice was being shared with Spanish police. One of the items discussed was improvements in disproportionality. Bedfordshire were one of only two Forces to have improved their disproportionality rate and the most improved overall. This is down to three reasons:
- Officers themselves
- Panel constructively helping to improve SS
- Leadership from Bedfordshire Police
Smell of Cannabis SS
The Home Office guidance on SS for smell alone of cannabis outlined that this would not be an illegal search. However, best practice would be for Officers to provide supporting evidence. Therefore moving forward the panel will not grade an Officer red if they SS on smell alone.
3. Community Complaints Trigger
Montell stated that part of the role of the panel was to advice on policy. The community complaints trigger did not make sense. It currently says; “ In the event that a community complaint is triggered, the stop and search the community scrutiny panel will investigate”. The chair proposed this is changed to three trigger points for the panel:
- Increase in the number of complaints
- Change in disproportionality rate
- Significant incidents
The panel can call for an investigation to monitor any of these triggers and to provide feedback to the panel and members of the public. The investigation will then sit with the Force Lead on SS.
All the panel agreed the above proposal.
Clare Kelly reinforced that all complaints will come to the panel.
The chair highlighted the importance of having accurate figures and that this has been an issue for a long time. KH said due to the change in systems the figures did not look right and the PCC's office are aware of sending inaccurate figures to the panel. Once they had been checked they will advise the chair. The chair said a special meeting may be called to appraise and scrutinize the figures.
Action: SD to find out a timescale for the new figures.
TuServe is a digital platform for all officers and staff. TuServ enables officers to access all relevant data systems from a single point, removing a dependency on paper-based systems i.e. SS forms are now completed on tuserv.
Kimberley Lamb updated that TuServe seems much more efficient than previous paper forms, and so far they seem to be giving greater information around grounds for SS.
Aims of the Panel
Montell reminded the panel about the roles of panel members. This included
- Sharing their knowledge of community issues
- Ensuring transparency by holding the force to account by challenging and questioning the use of tactics, reviewing videos and receipt forms. To elect a Chair and Vice Chair
- To provide feedback to members of the community on policing and panel issues
SS Figures and Disproportionality Review
Athena Statement: Bedfordshire Police implemented a new crime recording and case management system on 23rd May 2018. New processes associated with this system have led to some data quality issues, principally because of differences in the way that information is captured. The Force is actively working to implement improvement actions which we envisage will improve the quality of our data over time. As part of the planning process for the implementation of the new system, it was understood and expected that some management data would not be available for a short period of time post activation.
Video one: PC 6074 Sec 1 PACE Burglary or TFMV
Panel member questions:
1. Why were handcuffs used? PS Mosley explained that handcuffs are reasonable to either protect Officer or to prevent detainee making off.
2. If there are two Officers and one gives GOWISELY, can the other still search? PS Mosley confirmed this was fine.
- PC had a good manner and tone de-escalated the situation quickly.
- Good the way the Officer moved the search to provide more privacy.
- Great explanation of the form.
- Good search
Video two: PC Wheeler Sec 47 Firearms
- Very Quick and efficient search
- Good control over the search
- Officer kept a good proximity to the individual being searched, taking into account the fact that they were searching for a firearm.
- Second Officer assisting should explain when the handcuffs went on-just a simple ‘I am going
to handcuff you’
Promoting the Panels Work
Montell highlighted that every member of the panel should share their role and the knowledge of the panel with their networks, in addition the panel is promoted to officers internally and externally using the media.
Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner handed out SS cards that have been funded by the Commissioner and handed to every police Officer.
Video three: PC Crozier Sec 1 Bladed Article
Graded: Green (with advice)
- Give clear information and an explanation to all those detained, especially when they are being put into the police vehicle.
- Nice calm manner when dealing with group and on the individual search.
- Good control of situation.
- Kimberley Lamb: Great explanation on TuServe around the grounds.
Ch Insp Hoque updated that Officers have had a general reminder over the BWV being turned on. The figures are not currently available as explained earlier. Twitter has been updated around SS.
Ride Along Scheme
Montell highlighted that the feedback from the ride along scheme should be reported back to the panel and this still wasn't happening. It’s often good news that needed to be shared.
Action: Ch Insp Hoque to ensure that from the next meeting there will be a report from everyone who undertakes a ride along.
Video 4: Insp Ayling (Extended from Video 1)
Panel Members Question:
- Why would people not give name? Chief Constable explained that if an item was recovered there would enough suspicion to arrest if the detainee would not give name.
- Kimberley Lamb explained that on original dip sampling no video was found and no form on TuServe. This had been raised with Ch Insp Hoque who gave the Insp Ayling’s feedback.
- Insp Ayling had run out of battery for the BWV and was unable to access TuServe due to an admin issue.
- However the PC with the Insp Ayling did have a paper form for SS. This is to be taken further.
- Montell Neufville is keen for others to consider the role of Chair and Vice Chair for the SS Panel.
- Clare Kelly informed everyone about the Force Open Day on 8th September at HQ
- Chief Constable told the Panel that they are very important to Force and that the work that they do helps to build on the trust and confidence within local communities.
Closing comments from Chair
Expenses claim forms can be completed to reimburse travel, parking etc for attending this meeting.
The next meeting will be
Thursday 6 December in Luton.