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***** Latest results, showing declining numbers of Stop and Searches and rising arrest rate available here  *****

Stop and Search has long been a contentious power, particularly amongst people in Black Minority Ethnic (BME) communities who are disproportionately represented amongst those stopped. With memories of earlier powers passing down the generations, Stop and Search retains its potential to undermine community confidence.

At the same time, the potential of the power to enable police to apprehend criminals, especially with regard to street crimes of widespread public concern (robberies, use of weapons or drug dealing for example), is recognised by the community. How should we weigh the balance?

In 2003, CPCG and Lambeth Borough Police tasked a small group of police officers and CPCG members to examine the operation of Stop and Search in Lambeth in three key respects.

  • Fairness. Is the power being exercised fairly across the community or are some groups being disproportionately stopped?
  • Effectiveness.  What is the return to the community, in terms of the conviction of wrongdoers relative to the costs, both in terms of police effort and community reaction?
  • Respect. Are people being stopped, the overwhelming majority of whom are not arrested, being treated in a decent manner?

Working with Lambeth Youth Council, who have led on the Respect issue, the Stop and Search Sub-Group (SSSB) has become a model for community police joint working to address an issue of common concern. The work has generated significant and important insights into the operation of the power.

Copies of reports and presentations are available for download here.

This model of joint working, developed by CPCG for Lambeth and Lambeth MPS, has now been adopted across London whilst the monitoring framework devised by our Sub-Group has been implemented for each borough.

London wide data can be accessed here,whilst Lambeth's performance can be seen here.

“It is this group, of people stopped and searched but not arrested, who are our first priority, since it is they who are most likely to feel aggrieved, the more so if their experience was not a good one or if they feel they have been unfairly targeted because of their appearance, lifestyle or ethnicity.”

CPCG/Lambeth MPS Stop and Search Sub-Group – Submission to MPA Scrutiny

Useful Links:

Stop and Search: Know Your Rights:Home Office site giving concise information on Rights, Police Powers, Complaints procedures etc

Stop and Search: Know Your Rights (Association of Police Authorities)

IPCC Guides to Making a Complaint

Home Office Stop and Search Manual

MPA Stop and Search Scrutiny Report