Stop and Search Community Scrutiny Panel Minutes - 17 November 2022
17 November 2022 6:30pm – 8:30pm Leadon, HQ
Apologies: Kay Selwyn, Richard Townsend, Robin Agascar, Ruth Bonser, Zunaid Raja, Aatiqah Patel, Martyn Murawa, John Sharrock, Adele Owen and Nick Evans.
Panel Members: Anthony Saunders, Delroy Moses, Cynthia Simon and Steve Talbot.
Police Officers and Staff: Mark Soderland, Si Motala and Chris Fewell.
Minutes: Lyn Smith
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 three cadets have joined this meeting. We are planning to maintain this contact for all future meetings.
Updated 17.01.2022: The group updated that the sports day was a huge success and a good turn out with over 400 people, the only thing to improve on was there was meant to be a presentation from a lawyer for the stop /search group but this didn’t happen due to other activities taking over the time. Action is completed.
4. We were unable to successfully review any Body Worn Video (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 three 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.
Updated 17.11.2022: There is ongoing work being carried out and the group would like to bring this back to a future meeting for the panel to see what the officer does to download the footage. The current retention period is 12 months, if there is evidential evidence then this is stored for 6 years. Audits are carried out and there are strict regulations around storage etc. The direction is that if you are out policing as a uniformed officer then body worn cameras should be turned on, there are slightly different directions for plain clothed officers although this is being reviewed particularly with the ‘Op Vangaurd’ team. It was discussed that the groups preference would be all officers should wear body worn cameras?
The question was asked if there is a body worn camera policy.
MS updated there is a policy in place and he will check if it can be brought to the group to look at in the future, the policy is under review as there are new national requirements.
It was highlighted that the community legitimacy panel have reviewed this as part of their group, that if officers don’t wear the body worn then there should be consequences for the officers.
MS updated that some officers in the past have been concerned to use around protecting peoples characteristics but that this has improved vastly and the direction is you should have your camera on if you are on duty.
The panel asked how long the recording can be carried out for, SM updated until the battery runs out or the officer turns the camera off.
Scrutiny of Stop Searches:
SM showed the panel the dash boards and asked the panel to select. It was highlighted that the dashboards look updated.
The panel decided to look at Stop Searches that took place under: Gloucester, being stopped for drugs and then Barton/Tredworth and ages 10 to 17. (Sep to Nov 2022).
NUMBER – no incident number
Date: 10.11.2022 Time: 15.05 Gender: MaleEthnicity: White British Age: 10-17 category Reasonable Grounds: Had been seen using class A drugs in the morning in the local area, stop search was carried out and class A drugs were found on the suspect. Outcome: Arrested and taken to custody. Panel Discussion: The panel asked if this younger age is common. Is was discussed that there is an ongoing problem with gangs in the area. The footage shows two males were stopped and searched by plain clothed officers the panel said it looked like this wasn’t the first time the suspect had been stopped. Class A drugs and money were found in the search. The panel thought it was sad that these children will leave school thinking this is the best way to make money and that this way of living is similar to trafficking young people.
Panel Decision: GREEN
The panel decided to look at firearms next. There were four in the Gloucestershire area (Sep – Nov 2022)
NUMBER 106 of the 29.10.2022
Date: 29.10.2022 Time: 06.10 Gender: Male Ethnicity: White British Age: over 18 Reasonable Grounds: Police received an anonymous call saying a drunk male was outside the property waving his arms around. Firearms officer attended as the person matches description of someone on record who carries a firearm. Outcome: No firearm was found. Panel Discussion: The panel agreed that this incident should have be attended, the search took 10mins.There are four officers on the scene, SM update the panel that if there is a firearms incident there will be more officers at the scene.
Panel Decision: GREEN
The panel decided to look at people searched who are black and in Cheltenham (Sep – Nov 2022) x4 and in 18 to 24 age category.
Action the panel would like to know the proportion of the population versus the data shown on the dashboards and to see if this will show any disproportionality.
NUMBER no incident number
Date: 19.10.2022 Time: 01.00 to 02.00 Gender: Male Ethnicity: Black Age: 18-24 category Location: Cheltenham Reasonable Grounds: There has been ongoing burglary in the area. Vehicle search was carried out, suspect has previous for burglary. There were four people in the vehicle. There had been Intel linking the people in the car to Burglary. Outcome: Nothing was found in the search. Panel Discussion: The panel asked if there are multiple people to search do you split them up? SM said as there were two officers they were able to take 2 each. The panel commented that the searches they had seen so far shows the suspects had been treated kindly.
Panel Decision: GREEN
The Chair thanked everyone for attending the meeting.
The next meeting will take place on: January 2023 tbc