Stop and Search Community Scrutiny Panel Minutes - 7th October 2021
Thursday 7th October 2021, 18:30 - 20:00 in The Severns room, HQ.
Panel Members: Kay Selwyn (Chair), Steve Talbot, Robin Agascar, John Sharrock, Sarah Dixon, Camella Cephas, Anthony Saunders, Richard Townshend
Police Officers and Staff: Acting Neighbourhood Policing Inspector Ash Shingler, Annabel Staley Apologies: Ruth Bonser, Zunaid Raja, Cathy Monnier, Carol Francis
Minutes: Annabel Staley
The Chair opened the meeting and all attendees introduced themselves.
The Chair asked that everyone followed the rules of the Police HQ and wore a mask when walking around the building, unless they are exempt.
The Chair advised that the decision has been made that everyone can view BWV footage but, in order to do so, a confidentiality agreement must be signed. This will also bring this panel in line with the other panels.
A/ Insp. Shingler explained that at the end of each meeting, the panel will identify BWV to watch at the next meeting. Unlike previously, all footage should remain on the system due to the new retention policy. If the footage is not there, feedback will be given to the officer in relation to this. The panel will not review any BWV that is still involved in an investigation.
Action Updates (03.06.2021)
Rich Pegler to meet with the Project Analyst to review and discuss the figures from the disproportionality report.
Update: A meeting was held with the performance team and discussions are being had to change police data capture to the ward level (to match that of Police UK). The key issue and data inaccuracy is around the use of census data from 2011. This will not be updated onto Constabulary systems until 2022/23.
Rich Pegler to check that the statistics from the disproportionality report have undergone a peer review process.
Update: The data was checked by a supervisor. Steve Talbot added that the report is not user-friendly for the general public. Rich Pegler to pass this feedback on.
Update: Acknowledged and feedback has been shared.
Rich Pegler to send the draft of the report and press release to the Chair to disseminate to the panel.
Update: This has been done and is also now available publically on the force website.
Rich Pegler to send documents which explain more about the vetting process to the Chair to disseminate.
Update: Awaits decision from the DCC affecting all public panels. (This has progressed further. See above).
Rich Pegler to discuss with PSD whether it would be possible to make complaints more available to the panel.
Update: It is not possible to make complaints more available to the panel due to personal data and data protection. We can share thematic learning once the complaint has been finalised.
The panel discussed the disproportionality report. The Chair explained that the performance dashboard was shared at the Stop Search Quarterly Governance meeting which makes the figures and data easier to understand. This dashboard will be shown at a future Stop Search Community Scrutiny Panel meeting.
The panel also discussed the introduction of the confidentiality agreement. A member was concerned that this was a shift in policy and wanted further clarification around exactly what the agreement entailed.
Action: Annabel Staley to liaise with Rich Pegler to determine exactly what the confidentiality agreement entails. Does it solely relate to the viewing of BWV footage? If members do not want to sign the agreement, can they attend part of the meeting (considering the minutes are published online)? Does the decision surrounding complaints change as a result of signing this agreement?
Update: I understand that this is a considerable change in approach from previous years but policing and governance evolves. Our panel must now meet the same standard as the Force Legitimacy Panel and the Use of Force Panel. Any person wanting to be a member and take part in discussion is required to complete the confidentiality agreement. It is there to ensure that we treat personal information correctly. This will not change our ability to share detail of ‘open complaints’, in the same way as we would not share detail of an open court case or prosecution. Whilst we minute all meetings, they are not and should never be a verbatim record. They are a summary where on occasion detail for the right reason is left out.
Action Updates (01.07.2021)
Panel Discussion: These grounds were very difficult to understand and caused some confusion amongst the panel. It seems that the passenger was stopped but the driver was not, which the panel questioned. What were the grounds to stop and search the woman if the marker was on the driver instead? Why was the car not stopped? A number of assumptions had to be made to understand this incident. The panel needed further information on the intelligence that led the car to be followed. Panel Decision: AMBER
Email response from officer: At this time, I was on an Op focusing on disrupting crime in that area, the area is known for violence and drugs. The vehicle in question was seen by officers as they were visiting a premise nearby. The car arrived at the location, which is outside the home address, but on seeing the police the car did not park up but immediately left the scene at speed. This road is not a main road, it is there only for access to shops and the flats above them. This suspicious behaviour was the grounds for stopping the car. Other officers followed the vehicle as they were in a marked police car and we were not. On switching on the police lights the driver continued along the main road and through a housing estate, ignoring multiple places where it would have been suitable for him to pull over and stop. This was more suspicious behaviour. The driver was the person that had markers for drugs and was searched by another officer. He admitted that he uses cannabis regularly.
I searched the woman mainly for two reasons. I had met her the week before where she was polite and happy to engage and speak with officers. However on this occasion she was very eager to ignore officers and get straight into the property despite the fact her boyfriend was being stopped by police. Also, due to the length of time that police had followed the car I believed that it was highly likely and possible that any drugs on her boyfriend could have been passed to her to conceal. At that time she was very aware that he was under investigation and so she could be eager to help him by concealing any drugs.
Panel Discussion: The query was why the female had been stopped but the male had not. From this email, it is clear that they were both stopped. This does not seem unreasonable given what we now know. Panel Decision: GREEN
Scrutiny of Stop Searches
The panel decided to look at Stop Searches conducted on individuals aged between 0 and 18 from the last meeting (01.07.2021) to today (07.10.2021).
Date: August 2021 Time: 1646hrs Gender: Male Ethnicity: White Age: over 18 Location: Gloucester Reasonable Grounds: Inside a vehicle that was subject to a S23 search. Admitted to being in possession of cannabis. Smelt of cannabis and his eyes were glazed. Legislation: Section 23 Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 Outcome: A white metal grinder containing cannabis was found. Offender given a cannabis warning. Panel Decision: GREEN
Date: August 2021 Time: 1650hrs Gender: Male Ethnicity: White Age: under 18 Location: Gloucester Reasonable Grounds: Incident report of poor driving and cannabis smell. Car stopped and smelt of cannabis. Driver stated that occupants smoke in the car. Legislation: Section 23 Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 Outcome: No cannabis on male. Linked to the search above. NFA. Panel Decision: GREEN
Date: July 2021 Time: 1110hrs Gender: Male Ethnicity: White Age: over 18 Location: Gloucester Reasonable Grounds: A member of the public stopped an armed response vehicle whilst dealing with another incident. The MOP stated that they had passed a male sat on the steps smoking cannabis. MOP raised concerns that this male was smoking cannabis in a public place and was concerned for the welfare of the smoker. Police attended and spoke to the male, who admitted to smoking cannabis and said that they had a small amount on them. Legislation: Section 23 Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 Outcome: No cannabis found, just the remains of stalks. NFA. Individual was spoken to by Docks security and banned from the location for 3 months. Panel Decision: GREEN
Date: July 2021 Time: 1640hrs Gender: Male Ethnicity: White Age: under 18 Location: Gloucester Reasonable Grounds: Male has been walking along with a friend who has been seen smoking a cigarette. On passing, officers could smell a strong smell of cannabis. The male has then shouted and, when he has seen that officers were stopping, he has run away. Legislation: Section 23 Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 Outcome: No items seized. NFA. Panel Decision: GREEN
Date: July 2021 Time: 2011hrs Gender: Male Ethnicity: White Age: over 18 Location: Gloucester Reasonable Grounds: Smell of cannabis in the vehicle and around the suspect. Legislation: Section 23 Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 Outcome: Green herbal cannabis seized. Given a caution. Panel Decision: GREEN
Date: July 2021 Time: 1640hrs Gender: Male Ethnicity: White Age: over 18 Location: Gloucester Reasonable Grounds: Strong smell of cannabis and suspected joint in hand. Legislation: Section 23 Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 Outcome: Joint seized. Offender given a cannabis warning. Panel Discussion: A panel member asked whether any support is given to these individuals. A/Insp. Shingler clarified that for adults, officers would have discussions and could submit a vulnerable screening tool. For young people, safeguarding will be considered and they may be offered a youth diversion. Officers cannot give a cannabis warning to individuals under the age of 18. Panel Decision: GREEN
Date: July 2021 Time: 1840hrs Gender: Male Ethnicity: Any Other Background Age: under 18 Location: Gloucester Reasonable Grounds: Strong smell of cannabis. Individual admitted to officers that he had been smoking it. Legislation: Section 23 Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 Outcome: No items seized. NFA. Panel Decision: GREEN
Date: August 2021 Time: 0048hrs Gender: Male Ethnicity: White Age: under 18 Location: Gloucester Reasonable Grounds: The individual was in a vehicle with 2 others. There was a strong smell of cannabis and the subject admitted to smoking prior to being pulled over. Upon being detained for a search, the subject produced a small bag of cannabis to officers. Legislation: Section 23 Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 Outcome: 1 gram of cannabis found. Given a cannabis warning. Panel Decision: GREEN
The panel decided to look at Stop Searches conducted on individuals aged between 0 and 18 under Section 1 PACE Going Equipped to Steal from the last meeting (01.07.2021) to today (07.10.2021).
Date: August 2021 Time: 0555hrs Gender: Male Ethnicity: White Age: under 18 Location: Gloucester Reasonable Grounds: Report of 2 males fitting the description attempting to steal a moped. Very close to location. Legislation: Section 1 PACE Going Equipped to Steal Outcome: No items seized. NFA. Panel Discussion: The panel were interested to hear the description of the caller compared to the description of the male searched. The caller stated the male was wearing a grey and black jacket and the description on the Stop Search form states the male was wearing a grey tracksuit. The panel were content that these were similar. The incident form provided additional details for this incident, including that one of the mirrors had been pulled off the bike and that the young people were taken home due to their age. Panel Decision: GREEN
Date: August 2021 Time: 1800hrs Gender: Male Ethnicity: Not Stated Age: under 18 Location: Gloucester Reasonable Grounds: Reports of youths breaking into the old night club. Legislation: Section 1 PACE Going Equipped to Steal Outcome: No items seized. NFA. Panel Discussion: The panel questioned what the officers were looking for and what it was about these individuals that meant they were stopped. Using the incident report, A/Insp. Shingler clarified that the young people were found in the nightclub and there were reports of youths forcing the door open after going through the gate. All individuals were given words of advice. The panel recognised that the grounds written on the form are inadequate. Panel Decision: AMBER
Action: A/Insp. Shingler to feedback to the officer that more detail is required for the grounds.
The Chair thanked everyone for their contributions. The panel selected the following Stop Searches to view at the next meeting: 129794, 129809 and 129651.
The next meeting will take place on Thursday 6th January 2022.