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West Midlands 'leading way' on stop and search progress

NEW TRAINING: West Midlands Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner Yvonne Mosquito who says the region “leads the way on this important issue”

A POLICE watchdog report that claims too little progress has been made in improving the use of stop and search powers has been challenged by the West Midlands Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner Yvonne Mosquito who says the region “leads the way on this important issue.”

The report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) claims many officers still have little understanding of the impact stop and search can have on the lives of young black people.

It said that its findings on progress made since 2012 had been disappointing as the wrong approach to stop and search led to resentment and a loss of trust in the police.

Unsurprisingly, it found that black and minority ethnic drivers were more likely to be stopped, more likely not to be provided with a reason for the stop and more likely to have their vehicle stopped without good reason.

The report goes on to say that good progress had been made in only one of ten recommendations made by inspectors since 2013 and that was in the use of technology. Many forces are now exploring the use of body-worn cameras to record encounters between police and those who are stopped.

However, Cllr Mosquito said: “We’ve introduced new training for officers, set up local oversight committees and developed an electronic recording system that gives us accurate, up-to-date information about how, why, when and where stop and search powers are used.

“We have led the way on this important issue. It is crucial that the public continue to have high levels of confidence in the police.

“The use of stop and search by the police is a well-known source of tension. That is why we will continue to work hard to make these powers even more transparent and ensure they are used fairly and proportionately towards all communities.”

David Jamieson, the West Midlands’ Police & Crime Commissioner, said: “We have had real successes in the West Midlands. The use of stop and search has fallen by two-thirds, from more than 50,000 a year to under 20,000. In turn, the outcome rate has increased from less than five per cent to more than 20 per cent.

“To continue to improve we have given all front line officers refresher training and set up community stop and search scrutiny panels for local people to challenge how stop and search is used in their areas.

“West Midlands Police was in the first wave of forces to map all stop and search data on the Police UK website using a new electronic recording system.

“All of these positive steps have meant that we have reduced the number of stop and searches, reduced their racial disproportionality and increased the positive outcome rate.”

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