Lincolnshire Police force suspended from stop and search scheme

Lincolnshire Police have come under scrutiny for failing to comply with stop and search standards, with the Home Secretary suspending the force from a data recording and transparency scheme.

Following a HMIC report which criticised the force’s recording of stop and searches, the Home Secretary enforced a suspension from the Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme with immediate effect.

Lincolnshire is one of 13 forces in England and Wales who are failing to comply with at least three of the five elements of the scheme, which they voluntarily signed up to, and which launched in December 2014.

Across the national HMIC inspection, police failed to demonstrate reasonable grounds to conduct the searches 15% of the time. In Lincolnshire, the figure was even higher at around 30%.

The investigation also found that Lincolnshire was doing little to monitor the impact of stop and search on black and minority ethnic groups and young people.

Data kept by the force shows that per 1,000 of the local black population, 8.2 are being searched, compared to only 3.3 per 1,000 of the white population.

The force is expected to face an emergency inspection in three months’ time.

Superintendent Maria Staniland said: “At the time of our HMIC inspection, we were not compliant with all the aspects of the voluntary scheme of ‘Best use of Stop and Search.’ This is intrinsically linked to our data recording practices.

“At present, we record stop and search encounters on paper based forms and the entire details are not transferred into our force systems.

“This will be corrected with the roll out of mobile data terminals to all frontline offices, whereby the data will be immediately and fully captured.

“In addition we are advanced with our plans to introduce body-worn video to all frontline officers which will further improve compliance with the national, ‘Best Use of Stop and Search’ scheme.

“We continually review and reflect on our level of service and use technology where our budgets allow.”