Gloucestershire Police: Community Trigger concerns

Meeting with PCC and Chief Inspector

Unilateral changes to Terms of Reference

The Chair of Stroud Against Racism (SAR) and myself had a meeting with the Police & Crime Commissioner and Chief Inspector heading up Stop & Search on the 11th December 2023 at Gloucestershire Police headquarters.

We gave an overview of SAR’s work and the Chief Inspector was keen to show us much positive work going on in the community. Increased frequency of Scrutiny Panel meetings, for example, and an effort to roll out the venue out into the community.

Candidly, the CI noted that a black person was more than four times more likely to stop searched in Gloucestershire. Update (13th Jan 24): The BBC subsequently ran a story on this.

The Commissioner gave us an overview of the ‘Community Trigger’, which apparently, wasn’t used very much, although this aspect of Policing is ‘operational’ and outside of his control.

SAR is very concerned that the Constabulary has removed the Community Trigger from the Scrutiny Panel’s Terms of Reference following SAR’s upheld complaint. This change moves focus away from scrutinising the clear and obvious ethnic disproportionality in the use of Stop & Search powers.

Following the meeting we formally asked the CI for an explanation on this significant divergence from best practice of the ‘Best Use of Stop & Search Scheme’ which the Constabulary signed up to in 2014.

e-mail to the CI

Also, as each formal complaint about Stop & Search would have generated a ‘Community Trigger’, we wanted to see how many have happened since 2014 and how many of these complaints had been investigated by the Scrutiny Panel.

To this end we submitted a Freedom of Information request to the constabulary.

FOI Request. No. of Stop Search complaints.

Update (31st Jan 24): The FOI request was responded to on 31st Jan 2024, click for more detail.