West Mercia Police to trial new stop and search scheme

By Connie Osborne Tuesday 26 August 2014 Updated: 29/08 07:58

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STOP and searches will be mapped online for the first time as part of a new Government scheme.

West Mercia Police will be piloting the project which uses geo-mapping technology to record information and locate where stop and searches take place.

The move will be introduced from the autumn until the end of the year and the data collected will be added to the popular crime maps online, allowing the public to see where incidents have taken place.

The scheme will then be rolled out nationally to other forces from the beginning of next year.

It is part of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme which is backed by Home Secretary Teresa May.

That aims to reduce the overall use of stop and searches, deliver better and more intelligence-led stop and searches, and improve stop-to-arrest ratios.

It will also provide the public with further information on the outcome of searches.

As part of the move, officers from West Mercia Police will be recording all the outcomes of stop and searches and whether there was a connection between the grounds for the search and the outcome.

They will also restrict the use of the Section 60 powers, which give officers the right by law to search people. A chief officer must authorise the use of the Section 60 and it must be reasonably believed that violence would, rather than could, take place.

Members of the public will also have the opportunity to watch stop and searches, while a high level of community complaints could also trigger them.

West Mercia Police Chief Constable David Shaw said: "Where these powers are used proportionately and fairly they have an important role to play in helping to keep our communities safe.

"However, West Mercia Police has long recognised more needs to be done to improve the use of stop and search, which includes addressing the numbers of black and ethnic minority people searched by our officers.

"We have already introduced new methods of stop and search and have been praised in HMIC reports but we are now leading the way with this pilot that will increase transparency and allow the public to monitor progress."

The data collected will be available at www.data.police.uk and additional information will also be published on the website.

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