Public invited to get involved in monitoring of police use of stop search and use-of-force powers
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Northamptonshire Police is inviting members of the public to get involved with police and community working groups that monitor the use of important police powers.
Two key areas where police officers make use of particular powers, over and above the more widely understood power of arrest, are stop and search and use of force, both of which can have a big impact on those they affect directly and also the perceptions of the wider community.
The force recognises the importance of being open and transparent with the public and its community partners, making sure there are opportunities for people to engage with and hold the police to account in respect of its activities in these areas.
Stop and search is one area where the force is inviting the public to take a more active role. Chief Inspector Lara Alexander-Lloyd heads up a police and community Stop Search Working Group (SSWG), aimed at improving transparency and community engagement.
The group meets every four to six weeks, usually in the evening or at the weekend, when members of the community join police officers and staff to discuss any issues relating to stop and search.
C/Insp Alexander-Lloyd said: “We’re looking to build even greater public involvement in the working group, to help us better communicate with our communities and work in partnership with them around stop and search.
“We encourage members of the group to share their views and give us feedback about their experience of stop and search or those of the people they represent.
“We would like to involve more people in the group, especially young people or those from minority communities. Anyone who would like to come along to one of the meetings or who wants to find out more about stop and search and how we monitor its use, should email [email protected] and we will get in touch with further details.“
“Another way we involve the public in improving our use of stop and search is through our Reasonable Grounds Panel, which monitors the grounds used for carrying out a stop search. If you’re a member of a community group and would like information about how your group can get involved in this, please get in touch at the above email address.”
The public are also represented on the Northamptonshire Police Use of Force Group, which is led by Chief Inspector James Willis and meets monthly to examine use of force across the organisation.
He said: “As with the Stop and Search Working Group, the Use of Force group enables and encourages two-way communication and engagement with the public and helps us continually improve the way we deploy our policing powers on a day-to-day basis.”
The main aims of the Use of Force Group are to:
Assess relevant data and consider any patterns that might highlight any issues or identify the need for training or development for any individual, team or department
Proactively identify opportunities to make improvements to training, current working practices, policy and equipment
Identify and share best practice in use of force across the organisation, and identify future issues and practices that will place the service in a strong position in relation to use of force
Provide the force with advice, guidance and direction on use-of-force matters
C/Insp Willis added: “The public are represented at our monthly meetings and we would like to encourage more people to get involved. Anyone wanting to find out more and to discuss the role and requirements is invited to get in touch by emailing me at [email protected].”
More information about use of force powers is available on the Northamptonshire Police website here.