Number: A 0803
Date Published: 11 December 2020
Version 1 – December 2020

1.0 Summary of Changes

This is a new procedure regarding the Stop and Search Review Panel which aims to improve public trust and confidence in Essex Police.

2.0 What this Procedure is about

This procedure sets out the arrangements by which Essex Police engages with its communities to achieve a greater transparency and community involvement in the use of stop and search powers across Essex.

Compliance with this procedure and any governing policy is mandatory.

3.0 Detail the Procedure

The aim of the stop and search review panel is to improve public trust and confidence in Essex Police by ensuring our processes and procedures are transparent whilst allowing members of the public the opportunity to Independently review stop and search activities and hold Essex Police to account through public scrutiny and provide a voice for community concerns.

These methods can be used in a variety of ways to improve trust and confidence in Essex Police

  • Improve links with all sections of the community;
  • Provide opportunity for public scrutiny;
  • To reassure the public in how Essex Police use stop and search powers across the county by involving them;
  • To review our use of stop and search and provide feedback;
  • To review and advise on policy, training and tactical considerations.

Opportunities to participate in the stop and search review panel will be open to all members of the public including Professionals, Councillors, MP’s and the Media.

The stop and search review panel will review incidents/cases and BWV footage using the Go Wisely acronym for guidance.

G: Grounds for the search
O: Object the officer is searching for
W: Warrant, particularly if the officer is in plain clothes
I: Identification, proof the officer is a police officer
S: Station to which the officer is attached
E: Entitlement, any citizen being searched by a Police Officer is entitled to copies of the paperwork
L: Legislation, the legal power which gives the officer the right to stop and search
Y: You are being detained for the search or for the purpose of, inform the person in clear terms the purpose and nature of the search

The review panel will ensure the Chief Constable complies with the code of practice by dip sampling (selecting records at random) stop and search records and BWV footage. The panel will also review complaints highlighted by the community complaints trigger process (a complaint policy that triggers explanation to local communities when large numbers of stop and search-related complaints are received). See C 3001 Procedure – Dealing with Complaints against the Police.

Membership of the review panel will consist of members of local communities from across the county most affected by stop and search. Recruitment to the panel will vary; an advert on the Essex Police external website will ask people to email the Community and Engagement Coordinator expressions of interest. They will then be sent forms which, once completed, will confirm their identity. Once these have been assessed they will receive an invite to join the panel. It is anticipated that local officers will offer invitations to local residents who express an interest in stop and search, their attendance will ensure we are inclusive and open to scrutiny.

A minimum of two police officers will attend to answer any questions the panel may have regarding the stop and search incidents/BWV footage. A member Essex Police support staff will be responsible for the administration of the panel. Feedback forms will be completed by members of the panel which will be used for a report for the force website for public scrutiny. Panel members will act as critical friends and provide constructive challenge.

The stop and search review panel will meet quarterly, all panel members will have a copy of the Terms of Reference. Training will be provided if requested by the panel member.

Once the panel is established it is anticipated that reports will be produced for review by the Safer Essex Board (this is attended by the local Community Safety Partnership managers) as this will encourage greater scrutiny.

4.0 Equality Impact Assessment

  • EIA – February 2020

5.0 Risk Assessment

Negative risks: potential for reputational risk which will need to be managed.

Positive risks: The Review panel will showcase all the good work Essex Officers whilst highlighting Essex Polices’ transparency when working with local communities.

6.0 Consultation

The following have been consulted during the formulation of this document:

  • Unison
  • Police Federation
  • Health & Safety
  • Strategic Change Team
  • PSD Superintendent
  • Policy/Risk
  • Superintendents Association
  • Strategic Force Crime & Incident Registrar
  • Information Management

7.0 Monitoring and Review

Review of work carried out by the panel to be completed by Communities and Engagement Co Ordinator (LPSU).

This procedure will be reviewed by, or on behalf of, the Head of Local Policing Support Unit every two years to ensure it remains consistent with current legislation.

8.0 Governing Force policy. Related Force policies or related procedures

  • A 0800 Policy – Stop and Search
  • C 3001 Procedure – Dealing with Complaints against the Police.

8.1 Data Security

Essex Police have measures in place to protect the security of your data in accordance with our Information Management Policy – W 1000 Policy – Information Management.

8.2 Retention & Disposal of Records

Essex Police will hold data in accordance with our Records Review, Retention & Disposal Policy – W 1012 Procedure/SOP - Records Review, Retention and Disposal.

We will only hold data for as long as necessary for the purposes for which we collected. Victims/public should be reminded that Essex Police take the protection of personal data seriously as described in the privacy notice https://www.essex.police.uk/hyg/fpnessex/privacy-notice/.

9.0 Other source documents, e.g., legislation, Authorised Professional Practice (APP), Force forms, partnership agreements, (if applicable)

  • EIA – February 2020