Disproportionate use of police powers

A spotlight on stop and search and the use of force

Recommendations from the Feb 2021 Justice Inspectorate's report.

  1. By July 2022, forces should ensure that officers and staff have effective communication skills, in line with the National Policing Guidelines on Conflict Management. This should be in addition to existing training on conflict management and de-escalation.

  2. By July 2021, forces should ensure that communication skills are reinforced as part of the programme of continuing professional development for officers and staff, and that supervisors are supported to routinely and frequently debrief officers on these skills using body-worn video footage.

  3. By September 2021, forces should: ensure that officers record on body-worn video (when this is available) the entirety of all stop and search encounters, including traffic stops and use of force incidents.
    have a structured process for regularly reviewing and monitoring internally a sufficient sample of body-worn video footage to identify and disseminate learning and hold officers to account when behaviour falls below acceptable standards.
    provide external scrutiny panel members with access to samples of body-worn video footage showing stop and search encounters and use of force incidents, taking account of the safeguards in the College of Policing’s Authorised Professional Practice.

  4. The Home Office and the NPCC should take steps to ensure that the quality of the data collected on the number of incidents where force has been used to effect a stop and search is sufficient for publication. The Home Office should publish this data as soon as possible.

  5. By July 2021, forces should ensure they have effective internal monitoring processes on the use of force, to help them to identify and understand disproportionate use, explain the reasons and implement any necessary improvement action.

  6. By July 2021, forces should ensure they have effective external scrutiny processes in place in relation to the use of force. Forces should take account of feedback and update the scrutiny panel and the community on the action taken.

  7. With immediate effect, forces should ensure that all stop and search records include detail of the self-defined ethnicity of the subject. When this information is refused by the subject, the officer-defined ethnicity code should be recorded.

  8. By December 2021, the Home Office should agree, nationally, a minimum standard for monitoring stop and search powers. HMICFRS commits to working on this with the Home Office and other interested parties, such as the College of Policing and the National Police Chiefs’ Council.