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National stop and search conference to share best practice

28 Aug 2019

Thirty police forces from across the country will come to our headquarters this week to share best practice around stop and search.

We are hosting a national conference on stop and search community scrutiny panels, which act as a local watchdog on how police officers are using the powers.

Our community scrutiny panel has been recognised for its good work by the Criminal Justice Alliance (CJA).

On Thursday the CJA will join representatives from 30 regional police forces, as well as organisations such as the College of Policing, for a conference aimed at sharing learning and best practice nationally.

Chief Inspector Hob Hoque, our lead for stop and search, said: “Our community scrutiny panel plays a vital role in helping us improve how we use stop and search.

“Their oversight and advice is invaluable in ensuring we are using these incredibly important powers correctly and treating the people we search with respect and dignity.

“Stop and search does have a role to play in tackling crime, but it is essential it is applied fairly and with the support of our communities. 

“At its heart, stop and search is a tool that benefits all communities by keeping people safe”.

The annual report of the CJA referenced the Bedfordshire Stop and Search Scrutiny Panel for the way it makes sure we are carrying out stop and search lawfully and in the most professional way possible.

The scrutiny panel meets four times a year and reviews body worn footage of stop and searches carried out by our officers.

The panel then gives them a rating and provides feedback, which is reported back to officers.

Thursday’s event will explore issues such as recruitment to scrutiny panels and how to get the best from this process.

Montell Neufville, chairman of the scrutiny panel in Bedfordshire, said: “Our role is to give a voice to communities from across Bedfordshire and to hold the police to account on how they are using their powers.

"The panel acts as a critical friend, ensuring that the powers are used in a way which is lawful.

“We recognise that stop and search powers have a role to play in the fight against crime and to help keep people safe, but it must always be done in a fair and lawful way.

“In Bedfordshire we are always looking for continuous improvement. We can share our experiences and learn from other forces from across the country.”

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