In a new initiative, the Force has established the Use of Powers Community Scrutiny Panel, where members of the public review and provide feedback on randomly selected incidents of Stop & Search and Use of Force. It is important that the public sees the use of these powers as a legitimate function exercised by their police service, as something they have consented to, and as a necessary part of allowing them to live freely and safely. There is currently a concern in some communities regarding policing encounters with the public, and there is substantial public interest in the review and scrutiny of the exercise of these powers.
In order for the Panel members to appreciate and understand how these powers work “on the ground”, and thus discharge their duty to scrutinise and monitor, they are given access to unredacted body-worn video footage recorded by police officers. Selection of the body-worn video footage viewed is the responsibility of the community co-chair.
The aim of the Panel is to improve community trust and confidence in policing through openness, engagement and transparency. Panel members’ feedback is used by supervisors to improve the practice of the individual officers featured in the video clips, and also informs the training provided to officers in the use of their policing powers.