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HMICFRS: Disproportionate use of police powers: A spotlight on stop and search and the use of force (February 2021)

Response from: Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Hampshire

While Hampshire Constabulary was not a part of this thematic inspection, we value the findings and outcomes, and any learning points on which we can implement. The tragic killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020 sent rippling effects across the globe. Here in the UK we saw protests, outcries for equality and a focus on experiences of police interactions from across ethnic minority communities.

Public confidence in policing is key to community harmony. Here in Hampshire we recognise that over 90% of our population is White British, yet the diverse nature of our communities is what brings us together, recognising the challenges faced across our communities, and understanding community needs.

Here in Hampshire though our legitimacy and scrutiny work, we work to hold the force to account. With the development of our Body Worn Video (BWV) stop and search panel, we review a range of stop and search encounters, to review any different proportions on different ethic groups across our region.

Understanding the impact on individuals and communities on the use of police powers is essential, we recognise there is always more that can be done to educate police officers and bring awareness of change from within the force to the public. We continue to work with the force, and challenge on disproportionality, bring about stronger public confidence in policing and stronger communications to the pubic in this area.

 

Recommendations

Of the eight recommendations made in this report, six are actions for the Chief Constable:

  • 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.
    • We will work with the force to ensure they are on track to have all officers and staff equipped with the right skills, are trained and are confident in delivering these methods.

 

  • 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.
    • As part of our scrutiny work and holding our Chief Constable to account, we will monitor the implementation of communication skills as core elements of professional development moving forward.

 

  • 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; and
  • 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.
  • Here at the OPCC we are working with key leaders within the force to drive forward the transparency around BWV and stop and search. With internal panels being set up to review footage enables the first steps of learning.

 

  • 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.
    • We know the force undertake internal monitoring with rigour, we will continue to monitor within our scrutiny role to ensure the identification and understanding of disproportionate use is recognised, understood and learnt from.

 

  • 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.
    • The forces IAGs (independent advisory groups) provide the force with external scrutiny. We will explore with the force how this can be strengthened to provide further opportunities from across our communities to provide feedback.

 

  • 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.
    • We will explore stop and search records to ensure this is being implemented, where there are gaps, we will bring this to the Chief Constable to ensure all officers and staff are given the directive to record the ethnicity of the subject.

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