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Forces sign up to ‘Stop and Search’ code of conduct

Police forces across the country have agreed to publish all outcomes of controversial stop and search measures by their officers, following the launch of a new Home Office scheme.

Forty three forces across England and Wales - including The Metropolitan Police Service – have signed up to the Best Use of Stop and Search code of conduct, which was announced in April by the home secretary, Theresa May, who admitted the power was being ‘misused’.

The changes are being brought in after Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary found that 27% of stop and searches did not satisfy the requirement that there be “reasonable grounds for suspicion”, meaning more than 250,000 of the one million searches conducted last year could have been illegal.

Under the new scheme, officers will need higher authorisation than at present to deploy ‘Section 60’ powers, under which someone may be stopped without grounds for suspicion in a situation where serious violence is anticipated.

The voluntary scheme is designed to contribute to a significant reduction in the overall use of stop and search, deliver better and more intelligence-led stop and search, and improve stop-to-arrest ratios.

Metropolitan Police Commander Adrian Hanstock said the new code supports the force's “ongoing drive to make stop and search more intelligence-led and effective”.

He added: “The Met has made significant improvements to stop and search over the last two years to not only reduce the total number of people we search, but also to ensure that our officers focus on those areas and types of crime that the public are most concerned about.”

Alex Marshall, from the College of Policing, added that people will support stop and search if it’s targeted.

Additionally, next year, police will also start mapping where the practice is used so people can see if one area is targeted more than others, and the public will be entitled to know why this is the case.

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