Officers get new stop and search training and guidance

First time guidance has been produced to set national standards for officers

New College training and guidance will give officers confidence to use stop and search powers legally, fairly, professionally and transparently and help them recognise the potential for unconscious bias.

The national training requires constables and sergeants to complete an online training module and test and take part in a two-day practical classroom session. Sergeants are required to take part in a further one-day course on supervising and monitoring stop and search carried out by their officers.

College of Policing Stop and Search lead, Garth Stinson, said:

"Stop and search can be an important power used by police to help to disrupt criminals and prevent offences.

"This is the first time since stop and search powers were introduced in 1984 that officers have been given set national standards to support them and ensure it is used consistently."

The standards focus on decision making when carrying out a stop and search and the law.

"We know that stop and search can be intrusive so our evidence-based approach means officers will be given support to use their powers fairly, legally, professionally and in a transparent way," Stinson added. "We want officers to feel confident in their use of stop and search to use it more effectively in tackling crime and increase trust in its use."

To create the training, the College carried out the first ever randomised controlled trial on stop and search and involved more than 1,300 officers across six police forces.

The training and guidance will help officers to:

  • recognise and challenge unconscious bias in stop and search
  • demonstrate clear, objective and reasonable grounds before conducting a search
  • account for their decisions clearly and treat members of the public fairly and respectfully.

Police forces across England and Wales now have access to the training and authorised professional practice.

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