After my earlier post on Stop/Search I forwarded a copy of it to Adam Simmonds, the Northamptonshire PCC. To be honest I didn’t expect a response, but to be fair, he engaged with me on the open medium of Twatter and offered his explanation and referred me to the relevant report on his website.
Reproduced below are his words, verbatim for fairness.
I cannot agree with much of what he said, but here is his explanation of the policy;
Nowhere in this dialogue does he explain where it is that he and the Chief Constable get the legal right to withhold this statutory power from any officer no matter how bad they are at Stop and Search. He also had no answer to my being horrified at his assertion that one third (26%). (I know, his maths not mine) of all Stop Searches have no basis in law. When I pointed out that Stop/Search was an officer’s Bread and Butter and it was incomprehensible to me that they couldn’t use this power properly and needed retraining, he again had no answer.
The whole basis of his policy seems to be based on this;
The OPCC’s report, which is based on interviewing over 1,000 people in Northamptonshire to understand their attitudes towards the police’s use of stop and search, reveals:
64% of people stopped and searched in Northamptonshire were aged between 13 and 24.
Of the respondents who had been stopped and searched, half (49%) thought the police officer had no justification in stopping and searching them, 41% disagreed that the officer/s treated them with respect and 39% disagreed that the officer treated them fairly.
57% of survey respondents said that they did not receive a copy of the stop and search form and they were not offered one.
68% of survey respondents said that the officer did not give them their details (name, ID number).
The above figures were based on 1,000 respondents to a survey. 1,000. Out of a TOTAL population of approx 700,000, less than a quarter of a percent of the population responded. Statistically valid? Possibly not.
The one thing that did warm my soul was reading the report on his website and discovering that no less s personage than Duwayne Brooks will be conducting a review of Stop and Search for Mr Simmonds.
In addition to publishing the findings of his report into stop search and the police response to that report with their dramatic changes, Mr Simmonds is also today launching a further review into stop and search to ensure that practise matches up to policy; that proposed changes are implemented and an examination of public confidence and awareness in this crucial police power.
Duwayne Brooks, a friend of Stephen Lawrence, who was with him on the night of his murder, will be carrying out the review for the PCC.
Some time later he reappeared on my Timeline, in response to a suggestion that Body Worn Video might be useful;
But didn’t seem to have a reply to this
— Alan Wright (@Alanw47) August 19, 2015
So I guess the jury is still out, but by no means a convincing performance from the PCC in question, and no explanation where the authority comes from to suspend an officer’s rights.