Stop and Search Community Scrutiny Panel Minutes - 7 April 2022
Thursday 7th April 2022, 6:30pm – 8:30pm The Leadon, HQ and Microsoft Teams
Attendees: Panel Members: Ruth Bonser (Vice Chair), John Sharrock, Robin Agascar, Steve Talbot, Camella Cephas, Richard Townshend
Police Officers and Staff: Ash Shingler, Grant White, Annabel Staley, Lucy Yearsley, 3 Police Cadets
Apologies: Kay Selwyn
Minutes: Annabel Staley
The Vice Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting. It had been decided at the previous meeting that this meeting would scrutinise body-worn video (BWV). Members randomly selected a number of searches but BWV for these could not be found at that time.
Action: Ash Shingler and Grant White to check whether BWV is available for these searches and provide an update at the next meeting.
Update: The first one is not there but the other two are.
The following BWV was viewed:
Date: March 2022 Time: 2300 – 2326 Gender: Male Ethnicity: Asian Age: over 18 Location: Gloucester Reasonable Grounds: Vehicle smelt very strongly of cannabis and vehicle had been involved in an incident, namely a theft. Legislation: S23 Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 Outcome: No Further Action (NFA) Panel Discussion: The panel discussed the value of this activity. Some felt uncomfortable viewing the BWV and one member stated they could not participate in the panel if they would be viewing BWV in the future. The panel decided to defer this discussion of how they will use BWV going forwards to the next meeting.
Action Updates (07.10.21)
Date: August 2021 Time: 1800hrs Gender: Male Ethnicity: Not Stated Age: under 18 Location: Gloucester Reasonable Grounds: Reports of youths breaking into an 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: Ash Shingler to feedback to the officer that more detail is required for the grounds.
Update: Ash Shingler has provided this feedback to the officer. Action complete (07.04.22).
Action Updates (06.01.22)
Date: November 2021 Time: 2305 – 0200 Gender: Male Ethnicity: Asian Age: over 18 Location: Cheltenham/Gloucester? (only stated A40) Reasonable Grounds: Incident reported by a Taxi driver who was taking the subject back towards his home address. During the journey, the subject made comments about wanting to kill people and was seen to have a knife strapped to his leg. Legislation: S1 PACE Offensive Weapons Outcome: No Further Action – No knife located Panel Discussion: The panel questioned why the search took so long. Panel Decision: GREEN
Action: Grant White to gain clarity over the length of the search. Were the times reported incorrectly?
Update: The times were reported incorrectly and the officer has apologised for this. Action complete (07.04.22).
Date: November 2021 Time: 2005 – 2010 Gender: Male Ethnicity: White Age: under 18 Location: Gloucester Reasonable Grounds: The male was identified by a staff member as an individual who was carrying a firearm / imitation firearm. Legislation: S1 PACE Offensive Weapons Outcome: No Further Action Panel Discussion: It was highlighted that this officer has used the wrong legislation as there is specific legislation for firearms offences. Panel Decision: GREEN
Action: Grant White to feedback to the officer that there is specific firearms legislation that they can search under.
Update: Feedback was given to the officer and they were grateful for the advice. Action complete (07.04.22).
Date: November 2021 Time: 1619 – 1623 Gender: Male Ethnicity: White Age: over 18 Location: Gloucester Reasonable Grounds: Reports of a male walking in possession of a knife and hammer. On arrival, the male was identified and detained to ascertain if he was in possession of any offensive weapons, in particular a knife or hammer. Legislation: S1 PACE Offensive Weapons Object Found: 3 kitchen knives and a hammer. Outcome: Arrested Panel Decision: GREEN
Action: Grant White to provide positive feedback to the officer. The reasonable grounds were well written and very detailed.
Update: Feedback given and the officer was very appreciative of this. Action complete (07.04.22).
Date: November 2021 Time: 0512 – 2312 Gender: Male Ethnicity: White Age: over 18 Location: Gloucester Reasonable Grounds: Seen by a witness inside a smashed up car that did not belong to him. Legislation: S1 PACE Stolen Property Object Found: Multi tool, a hammer, several car keys, car cleaning kit. Outcome: Arrested Panel Discussion: The grounds are not written clearly and do not contain enough information. The reader must read ‘between the lines’ to understand the situation. Panel Decision: AMBER
Action: Grant White to clarify timings for this search.
Update: No response, Grant White will chase.
Date: November 2021 Time: 2000 – 2004 Gender: Male Ethnicity: Not Stated Age: No Date of Birth Location: Gloucester Reasonable Grounds: The officer was travelling in a marked police van and stopped at a red light. A male rode past on a bicycle whilst using the phone. In cycling past, he noticed the van and looked at it repeatedly 5 or 6 times, clearly checking the direction the van was going to take at the lights. The male continued to check behind him to see if the officer was following him. The officer formed a suspicion that he was in possession of stolen or prohibited items. Legislation: S1 PACE Stolen Property Outcome: No Further Action Panel Discussion: Although the panel agreed this behaviour may raise suspicions, they did not believe these were sufficient grounds to search the individual for stolen property. It would have been proportionate to stop the individual and advise him not to use the phone whilst on a bike but not to search him. The officer has not provided any details of the conversation with the male. The panel also questioned whether further consideration was given to the individual not giving an age or ethnicity. Panel Decision: RED
Action: Grant White to follow this up with Ash Shingler to determine next steps.
Update: The sergeant who supervises the officer above was spoken to regarding the circumstances. It was agreed that these grounds were not sufficient and this has been discussed with the officer. The officer usually produces work of a high standard and so there are no performance issues. The officers next stop searches will come under scrutiny. Action complete (07.04.22).
Scrutiny of Stop Searches
The panel decided to first look at the stop searches randomly selected at the beginning of the meeting.
Date: March 2022 Time: 0145 – 0204 Gender: Male Ethnicity: White Age: under 18 Location: Gloucester Reasonable Grounds: Individual observed to approach an unattended Ambulance, open the door and step in. Exited almost straight away. Legislation: S1 PACE Stolen Property Outcome: No Further Action Panel Decision: GREEN
Date: February 2022 Time: 2245 – 2250 Gender: Male Ethnicity: White Age: over 18 Location: Gloucester Reasonable Grounds: The male was seen acting suspiciously, walking slowly and placing his hands in the air when he saw police. When police approached him, he stated he had been told by someone that he had a knife on him. The male had a superficial cut to his left wrist that looked as if it may have been caused by a knife. Legislation: S1 PACE Offensive weapons Outcome: No Further Action Panel Decision: GREEN
Date: January 2022 Time: 2330 – 2335 Gender: Unknown Ethnicity: Unknown Age: Unknown Location: Stonehouse Reasonable Grounds: Strong smell of cannabis from vehicle, grinder seen in passenger footwell. Legislation: S23 Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 Outcome: No Further Action Panel Discussion: The panel assumed that this was an abandoned vehicle but felt that more information was required for this search. Panel Decision: AMBER
Action: Ash Shingler to request more information from the officer who conducted this search.
Date: April 2022 Time: 1443 – 1453 Gender: Female Ethnicity: White Age: over 18 Location: Cheltenham Reasonable Grounds: Female attempted to take items from a shop and then left the store. She had potentially been in other stores. Female seen matching the description and carrying coats. Legislation: S1 PACE Stolen Property Outcome: Community Resolution – 2 x Mountain Warehouse coats found Panel Discussion: The panel questioned the severity of the outcome, considering the individual had been to several shops and her actions appear to have been planned. However, they agreed that the grounds were sufficient to necessitate the search. Panel Decision: GREEN The panel then decided to look at Stop Searches carried out under Section 1 PACE: Going Equipped to Steal between the last meeting (6th January 2022) and today (7th April 2022).
Date: January 2022 Time: 2145 – 2200 Gender: Male Ethnicity: White Age: over 18 Location: Tetbury Reasonable Grounds: On arrival, the caller stated that the unknown male appeared to have a long implement in his right hand. The caller had recorded on his phone but on viewing the pictures, it was hard to see what he was carrying. Officers saw a group of people matching the descriptions given and the male in question appeared to place something in the rear of his waistband of his tracksuit bottoms. Legislation: S1 PACE Going Equipped to Steal Outcome: No Further Action Panel Decision: GREEN
Date: January 2022 Time: 2310 – 2340 Gender: Male Ethnicity: Any Other White Background Age: over 18 Location: Cheltenham Reasonable Grounds: Incident reported that parking machines were being broken into in the area. The security alarms were being activated on the machines. Officers attended and two males in the area saw police and started to immediately walk in the opposite direction. There was intelligence that parking machines had been targeted recently and that multiple tend to be targeted at the same time. Legislation: S1 PACE Going Equipped to Steal Outcome: Arrested Panel Decision: GREEN
Date: February 2022 Time: 0130 – 0144 Gender: Male Ethnicity: White Age: over 18 Location: Coleford Reasonable Grounds: Officer came across a white panel van and noticed a male sat in the driver seat in camouflage gear. Another male was stood outside of the car and appeared to be looking into the bushes with a flash light. After asking the males what they were up to, their accounts where completely different. They later identified that they were ‘lamping’. Both males detained and items seized. Legislation: S2 Poaching Prevention Act 1862 Outcome: Other Panel Decision: GREEN
Action: Ash Shingler to send a good work report to this officer for detailed grounds.
Date: February 2022 Time: 1400 – 1412 Gender: Male Ethnicity: White Age: over 18 Location: Gloucester Reasonable Grounds: Received a 999 call from a member of the public who had seen a male acting suspiciously. The male was seen leaving 2 bags on a seat before later coming back for the bags. The male had also been seen acting suspiciously earlier. The caller had phoned anti-terrorism but was advised to phone the police. CCTV then made police aware that the male had boarded the bus. The male was asked to step off the bus and was detained for a search. Legislation: S43 Terrorism Act 2000 Outcome: No Further Action Panel Decision: GREEN
The Chair thanked everyone for their contributions.
A panel member raised that they did not feel the meetings took place regularly enough to scrutinise enough searches. They did not think that the number of searches looked at and discussed genuinely reflected not only the total number of stop searches completed, but also their content and or topic, and the particular areas, taking into account their ethnicity etc. Concern was also raised about the lack of numbers of the community attending these meetings, as the numbers are dwindling and it was felt that a meeting every other month may help with continuity and also the numbers attending. We are not only lacking members from the ethnic community, but also from the younger generation.
Another member advised that this had been considered but quarterly meetings are in line with best practice and given current pressures, 4 meetings per year felt sufficient. It was decided that this would be discussed at the next meeting.
The next meeting will take place on Thursday 7th July 2022.