Best Use of Stop and Search revisit - West Mercia Police
In 2014, the Home Office and College of Policing launched the Best Use of Stop and Search (BUSS) scheme. The scheme aims to achieve greater transparency and community involvement in the use of stop and search powers, and to support a more intelligence-led approach, leading to better outcomes.
The scheme sets out guidance on:
- data recording and publishing;
- the introduction of lay observation policies to allow members of the public to accompany officers on patrol when they might observe stop and search powers being used;
- the introduction of a community complaints trigger, a complaint policy which triggers explanation to local communities when large numbers of stop and search-related complaints are received;
- reducing the use of stop and search powers under section 60 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994; and
- monitoring the impact of stop and search on young people and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.
In 2015, HMIC assessed the compliance with each feature of the scheme in each of the 43 Home Office-funded forces in England and Wales, as part of our 2015 PEEL Legitimacy inspection. That inspection identified that:
- only 11 forces were complying with all five features of the scheme;
- 19 forces were not complying with one or two features of the scheme; and
- 13 forces were not complying with three or more features.
HMIC committed to revisit these 13 forces within six months of the legitimacy inspection.
In February 2016, the Home Secretary suspended these 13 forces from the scheme. The findings of this revisit report will inform the Home Secretary’s decision on whether to lift or retain each force’s suspension from the scheme.
West Mercia Police was one of the 13 forces not complying with three or more features of the scheme. The letter below sets out the findings of a revisit inspection to assess West Mercia’s compliance with the scheme.