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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

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Cumbria police adopt new stop and search code

Cumbria's police force is tightening up its use of powers to stop and search people as part of a national drive to prevent them being misused.

Jerry Graham photo
Jerry Graham

Officers will have to record all outcomes after every search, while there will be greater restrictions on legislation which allows someone to be stopped over fears of violence without grounds for suspicion.

All 43 police forces in England and Wales have agreed to adopt a new Government code of conduct on the use of their powers to stop and search members of the public.

Cumbria Police is one of 24 that will implement the extra measures – ways of working the others will bring in later in the year.

The county’s crime commissioner, Richard Rhodes, has welcomed the move, saying “transparency and accountability” in the way officers use powers is key to a relationship of trust between police and people.

The Government says the ability to stop and search is an important police power.

But it can be counter-productive when it is misused, can be a waste of police time and can be damaging to the relationship between police and public when innocent people are stopped and searched for no good reason.

Police say the power to stop without suspicion is already used only when necessary. But under these moves a senior commander must make the decision whether to authorise its use.

Cumbria’s chief constable Jerry Graham said: “Stop and search is an essential tool in tackling crime and antisocial behaviour in Cumbria.

“We, as a force, endeavour to use this power appropriately and our recording of the use of this power will be held to scrutiny under the scheme launched by the Home Secretary.”

Mr Rhodes said: “I welcome the introduction of this scheme and believe that transparency and accountability in the way that police forces use their powers is key to promoting trust between the police and communities.”

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