Stop and Search Community Scrutiny Panel Minutes - 1 September 2022
Thursday 1st September 6:30pm – 8:30pm in Gold, HQ
Panel Members: Kay Selwyn (Chair), Robin Agascar, Steve Talbot, Richard Townshend, John Sharrock, Ruth Bonser
Police Officers and Staff: Mark Soderland, Si Motala, Martyn Murawa, 3 x police cadets
Minutes: Annabel Staley
The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.
1. The panel considered putting out an advert on the radio or producing a flyer for upcoming Constabulary events e.g. the sports day and the open day. Also discussed asking the Youth Advisory Group and the cadets if they would like to be involved.
Action: MS and AS to follow this up.
Update: A flyer was produced and distributed at the community sports and fun day. This will also be distributed at the open day. AS has made contact with the Youth Advisory Group and the cadets and 3 cadets have joined this meeting. We are planning to maintain this contact for all future meetings.
2. A panel member advised that the dashboards have changed and so the searches can no longer be separated by ethnicity.
Action: MS to follow this up.
Update: AS has spoken to a performance officer, who confirmed that we are able to split the searches by demographics. However, this information is not sanitised and so we will need to rely on IAG members to confirm its accuracy rather than having this available on the main screen.
3. Discussed using BWV in hospitals. Hospitals have signs up stating that the public should not record. Where do the police stand with this?
Action: MS to check our policy around filming in hospitals and provide an update at the next meeting.
Update: MS has liaised with the subject matter expert for BWV within Gloucestershire Constabulary, who confirmed that it is within legislation that officers are able to use BWV in hospital environments. Officers should, however, use their discretion with this and so may turn off their BWV for certain incidents or turn the camera towards the floor so that the audio is still recording.
A panel member questioned whether the guidance given to hospital staff around recording is the same as the guidance that is given to police officers. MS advised that there is an Authorised Professional Practice (APP) document coming out in November, which will go into detail around correct policies and procedures with BWV.
Action: MS to ask the subject matter expert whether the guidance given to security staff regarding filming in hospital environments matches the guidance given to officers.
4. We were unable to successfully review any BWV footage. This requires further investigation as to whether the footage is not available or this is the result of user error.
Action: MS and AS to meet and streamline the process for viewing BWV.
Update: It has been decided that BWV footage will be searched for during the panel meetings whilst the scrutiny of reasonable grounds is taking place. We have also randomly selected 3 searches which can be viewed if, for any reason, there are issues locating footage in the meeting.
SM explained why some footage may not be available. He advised that when officers dock their camera, it uploads to the cloud. During this process, the footage is stored in a folder and officers are required to state that the footage links to a specific incident. Until this is done, the footage will not come back when you search for a specific officer. Additionally, unless the officer has assessed the footage, it automatically deletes after a month.
The meeting discussed the implications of this in terms of the panel’s ability to effectively scrutinise BWV. MS advised that he is already looking into the retention period for Stop Searches. For Stop Searches, officers are currently advised to change the period to 3 months; however, this does not happen as routinely as expected. The panel also discussed the implications of the current retention period should someone wish to make a complaint. MS explained that he is considering this.
Action: SM to bring his camera to the next meeting to show the process of docking.
Scrutiny of Stop Searches
The panel decided to look at Stop Searches that took place under the S47 Firearms Act between the last meeting (7th July) and today.
Date: July 2022 Time: 1108hrs – 1208hrs Gender: Not stated Ethnicity: Not stated Age: Not stated Location: Gloucester Reasonable Grounds: A shotgun was found in the back of another vehicle about 30 metres away. Legislation: S47 Firearms Act Outcome: No Further Action Panel Discussion: The panel questioned why no demographics were available. It was advised that this was a search on an unattended vehicle. A vast quantity of alcohol was found in the car and seized. The panel questioned why this vehicle specifically was searched and SM provided additional information from the incident report. Police were called to a fight involving 4 men. Officers attended and found 2 vehicles unattended with no registration plates on. As they found the shotgun in the first car, they deemed it necessary to search the other. Panel Decision: GREEN
Date: July 2022 Time: 2150hrs – 2152hrs Gender: Male Ethnicity: Not stated Age: Not stated Location: M5 J14 Southbound Exit Slip Reasonable Grounds: Intelligence-led operation. Information suggested that the person was involved in purchase of firearm. Legislation: S47 Firearms Act Outcome: Other – Strip Search Panel Decision: GREEN
The panel decided to next look at searches under S1 Pace Offensive Weapons.
Date: July 2022 Time: 0257hrs – 0302hrs Gender: Male Ethnicity: White Age: Under 18 Location: Cheltenham Reasonable Grounds: Information was given from Police CCTV that the individual may be carrying a knife. Legislation: S1 Pace Offensive Weapons Outcome: No Further Action Panel Discussion: The panel questioned the use of the phrase ‘may be carrying’. SM advised that it is possible that door staff contacted CCTV and therefore, the police responded accordingly. The panel agreed that the grounds were sufficient but highlighted that they did not know the details of the description given or how it was reported. They asked to look at the BWV for this search. Panel Decision: GREEN
BWV review: A panel member stated that this was uncomfortable to watch and questioned why the individual was handcuffed for the search. It was advised that officers can handcuff to prevent escape or harm to the officer. Based on the information received and how the individual reacted, this was the safest way to gain control of the situation.
Date: July 2022 Time: 1340hrs – 1350hrs Gender: Male Ethnicity: Mixed – Any Other Background Age: Under 18 Location: Gloucester Reasonable Grounds: Initial report that subject was in possession of a knife. Legislation: S1 Pace Offensive Weapons Outcome: No Further Action Panel Discussion: The panel questioned how the officers knew who to search. The panel were advised that it is possible that the individual was named during the call to the police. A member questioned whether two officers are required for a search. MS advised that there are different types of searches and each type has their own conditions. Panel Decision: GREEN
Action: In the meeting, SM was unable to find any BWV for this search. SM to look into this. If BWV is not available, SM to send feedback to the officer.
Date: July 2022 Time: 0200hrs – 0208hrs Gender: Male Ethnicity: White Age: Over 18 Location: Tewkesbury Reasonable Grounds: Police were called to an incident reported, whereby a subject had been named as being in possession of a knife and making threats with it. When the subject moved into a communal area, they were seen to have an unknown 'bulky' item in their pocket. Legislation: S1 Pace Offensive Weapons Outcome: Arrested Panel Discussion: The panel questioned the nature of the environment this search took place in. They were advised that there is BWV footage available and the panel requested to see this footage. Panel Decision: GREEN
BWV review: This individual refused to give his name to officers. A panel member questioned why the police were taking the fingerprints for this individual. Do individuals have to disclose who they are to police? It was advised that no fingerprints were taken, they were just scanned against those already on the system. If no hits are found, this individual can walk away without giving their name.
Action: MS to check the operating procedures around identification.
Date: August 2022 Time: 1730hrs – 1732hrs Gender: Male Ethnicity: White Age: Under 18 Location: Gloucester Reasonable Grounds: Police were called to the location following reports of youths with knives and wearing balaclavas. Upon arriving into the street, they saw a male with a balaclava around their head and therefore believed they could be carrying a knife. Legislation: S1 Pace Offensive Weapons Outcome: No Further Action Panel Discussion: MS provided wider context to this incident. Panel Decision: GREEN
The Chair thanked everyone for attending the meeting.
The next meeting will take place on Thursday 3rd November 2022.