What is Stop and Search? And why do we need it?

You can find out more about what Stop and Search is and why we need it in the video below.

How are we approaching Stop and Search in Gloucestershire?

Stop and search is something that is taken very seriously within Gloucestershire Constabulary; it is a highly effective policing tactic to use but it must be used correctly as it can be very intrusive and influential on our communities.

Because of this, people who are stopped must be treated with respect and an officer’s behaviour must be of the highest standard.

Collectively officers only carry out on average two to four searches a day across the county but there have been many examples of operations in the last three years that have successfully utilised stop and search powers; including operations targeting suspected offenders who are involved in drug dealing and possession of knives and other weapons.

In Gloucestershire, a considerable amount of work is continuing to ensure stop and search is used appropriately and to ensure the Constabulary is as transparent as possible.

The Constabulary is fully integrated with the Home Office’s Best Use of Stop Search Scheme (BUSSS), introduced in 2015/16.

The main aims within the BUSSS is for all UK Police Forces to become more transparent with stop and search, to allow members of their communities to have oversight of searches that are carried out and to offer members of these communities the chance to observe any stop searches that take place.

In Gloucestershire the following measures we’ve taken reflect this are:

  • Front line officers are using mobile devices to record stop searches, which improves the reliability of stop and search data and the quality of recording.
  • We are making information available to the stop and search mapping function of www.police.uk so the public can see where and why stop searches happen.
  • The community are now able to observe how our officers work, and potentially the use of stop and search, on our Ride Along scheme.
  • More training is being introduced for officers and will involve young people who have experienced stop and search to improve realism and make it more worthwhile.
  • Designated specialist officers across the force will scrutinise every stop search.

What happens with Stop and Search data?

Gloucestershire Constabulary send all of their stop searches to the Home Office-led website, Police.UK.

All stop and search forms are completed on the mobile device of the officer and members of the public are offered the opportunity to attend a police station to get a copy of the form.

Once the officer has completed their form it will electronically go to their line manager (usually a sergeant), the sergeant will quality assure the form, checking that it was carried out legitimately and has been recorded correctly with enough detail to justify the search.

The Constabulary also has supervisors across front line policing who are “Stop Search Champions”; part of their role is to carry out 'dip sampling' of all the stop searches that are completed within their area.

This adds another layer of quality assurance, not only to the officer completing the form but to the line manager who quality assures it in the first place.

This gives us a further opportunity to identify best practice and learn any lessons.

All members of our communities can view the stop searches that have taken place across Gloucestershire; most crucially they can see why they have taken place. Please visit our stop and search data page to find out more.

Our Stop and Search Community Scrutiny Panel

Additionally, the Constabulary has created a community oversight group for stop and search, which sits every quarter and discusses in detail recent stop search incidents.

It advises whether police action in each incident was appropriate and gives feedback that is used by the organisation to help improve processes and training.

The minutes from recent Stop and Search Community Scrutiny Panel meetings can be downloaded by clicking on the links below:

You can also download the terms of reference for our panel.

Who can join the Stop and Search Community Scrutiny Panel?

Anyone can apply to join our Stop and Search Community Scrutiny Panel. If you wish to join the panel you can apply using our online application form.

Other Stop and Search information

HMICFRS stop and search inspections

All 43 forces in across England and Wales are subject to stop and search inspections by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS). The role of the HMICFRS is to independently assesses the effectiveness and efficiency of police forces and fire & rescue services – in the public interest.

For further information on the most recent stop and search inspections, you can view the HMICFRS stop and search inspections page.

For further information on HMICFRS, please click here to visit their website.

Relating documents

We've also published our Stop and Search policy and Stop and Search development improvement plan (March 2015 - present). If you wish to view these documents, please download them using the links below.