Stop and search remains a hugely important police power for protecting the public, tackling crime and keeping our streets safe. Find our latest Stop and search data via Police UK.
Stop and search is subject to strict rules and procedures to ensure that the power is used in a fair and effective way that supports public confidence and is independently scrutinised.
We do not underestimate the impact stop and search has on communities and individuals. We know that to maintain public confidence in its use, the power must be used in a fair and effective manner.
The force has a commitment to becoming more open and transparent. Part of this is being better at sharing and engaging on some of the powers that our police officers use to keep people safe, and that includes Stop and Search.
Between October and December 2022, data for the whole of Thames Valley Police showed a black person is 4.9 times more likely to be searched compared a white person. This varies significantly between different force areas. The latest Home Office data shows that out of the 43 Police Forces in England and Wales, Thames Valley Police has the 13th lowest rate of disproportionality.
The use of Stop and Search powers is scrutinised at all levels to ensure that officers fully understand their powers. Each Local Police Area (LPA) has a dedicated Inspector responsible for checking they are conducted correctly and any learning is fed back to the officer involved. Any complaints relating to Stop and Search are dealt with by the Professional Standards Department (PSD). The data toolkits are discussed at quarterly meetings chaired by senior officers and any concerns are discussed with the relevant LPA for them to be looked into and reported back on, to ensure that any learning or best practice is shared. Intelligence briefings and hotspot mapping assist officers to identify where to target their patrols and their stop and search encounters.
We also need views from the public. We recognise that many people have concerns about whether policing powers are used fairly. Scrutiny involving our Independent Advisory Groups (IAG) made up of members of the public is therefore part of our approach, and we would encourage people all of our communities to get involved in these groups a link is available on this site for more information on how to get involved. There are also community scrutiny panels across the force, this is an area we are keen to expand, if you are interested to know more, please contact your local police station and ask for the Stop and Search SPOC. (Single Point of Contact) The various IAGs view body worn footage of stop and searches. There is also a force wide IAG specifically for Stop and Search (SSIAG). The SSIAG liaise with the local IAG’s and receive referrals from them for further review and discussion, a member of PSD is involved in the quarterly SSIAG meetings as complaints around Stop and Search are also discussed.
Thames Valley Police is actively working to make all of our documents accessible - any information and data contained in these documents can be made available in an accessible format. Please contact us if this is required.