Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner.  
Commissioner's Office: 01707 806100

Countywide Community Stop and Search Scrutiny Panel

In early 2014, the Home Secretary introduced a package of reforms (Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme) in response to concerns about police compliance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984 Code of Practice A. It was intended that the reforms should contribute to a significant reduction in use of stop and search, a more intelligence-led use of the practice and improved stop to arrest ratios.

Hertfordshire Constabulary signed up to the scheme in August 2014, to put in place a range of measures to ensure better compliance with the Act, including the scrutiny of stop and search records by the communities they serve. By signing up to the new measures, it is hoped a more focused and intelligent-led approach to stop and search will develop, resulting in a higher arrest rate, and a targeting of those engaged in serious criminality. It should also lead to a greater proportion of stop and search for acquisitive crime, rather than low level drugs possession.

The Home Secretary advised that the responsibility for external scrutiny should be owned and facilitated by those democratically charged with holding the police to account. In March 2015, Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner set up an independent scrutiny panel made up of members of the community from across the county to undertake scrutiny of Hertfordshire’s stop search practices. The panel is able to provide a voice for community concerns and help inform and influence police training and actions.

In February 2017, Commissioner David Lloyd welcomed a report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), which confirms Hertfordshire Constabulary is meeting the requirements of the Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme.

Hertfordshire was one of the first forces to sign up to the scheme and it has now been confirmed they are fully compliant with all aspects of it.

More information on how the community scrutiny panel was set up can found in the briefing note.
 

Role and Responsibilities

The Countywide Community Stop and Search Scrutiny Panel meet on a monthly basis for two and a half hours to discuss, monitor and scrutinise how Hertfordshire Constabulary are carrying out Stop and Search. 

The panel undertake dip sampling (selecting records at random) of the Stop and Search forms in order to achieve greater transparency and involvement in the use of Stop and Search powers across Hertfordshire, and improve public confidence and trust in how the tactic is used.  There is also scope for the panel to evolve and develop to undertake scrutiny of body-worn camera footage and police Use of Force.

The panel is looking to recruit up to 15 new members to take part in the dip sampling of the Stop and Search forms in order to achieve greater transparency and involvement in the use of Stop and Search powers across Hertfordshire, and improve public confidence and trust in how the tactic is used. There is also scope for the panel to evolve and develop to undertake scrutiny of body-worn camera footage.

 
 

Annual Reports

The Police and Crime Commissioner publishes an annual report about the Countywide Community Stop and Search Scrutiny Panel.

The report contains information about the organisation of the panel as well as key findings from meetings.

Annual Report for 2016-2017
Annual Report for 2015-2016

Meeting Minutes

The minutes of the panel meetings can be viewed via the links below.

Stop and Search Panel 2017
Stop and Search Panel 2016
Stop and Search Panel 2015
 

How to Apply

The Panel is looking to recruit new members to take part in the dip sampling of the Stop and Search forms in order to achieve greater transparency and involvement in the use of Stop and Search powers across Hertfordshire, and improve public confidence and trust in how the tactic is used.  There is also scope for the Panel to evolve and develop to undertake scrutiny of body-worn camera footage and police Use of Force.

To apply for the role of Countywide Community Stop & Search Scrutiny Panel Volunteer, please read through the volunteer role profile and if you have the right skills and aptitude, please complete an application form, sign and return it to the address below.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview. There is a requirement to undertake vetting and training to fulfil the role.  However, a conviction does not mean an automatic disqualification from becoming a Panel member. Each application is considered on a case by case basis.
 
Please note the post will require you to attend monthly meetings for 2.5hrs in Hertfordshire, dates will be circulated in advance.  There is an expectation that you will be able to commit to at least six of the twelve meetings held per year. In promoting consistency, we encourage your commitment to the role and in return travel expenses will be reimbursed. Councillors are welcome to apply.
 
Unfortunately, due to the high volume of applications received, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner is unable to provide feedback for those applicants who are unsuccessful.  Please note the first 100 applications will be considered.

Send completed forms to:

FAO: Lydia Massey, Policy Officer
Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire
Harpenden Police Station
15 Vaughan Road
Harpenden
Hertfordshire
AL5 4GZ

If you would like any further information or have any questions regarding the role, please contact Lydia Massey, Policy Officer on 01707 806100.