Independent Stop and Search Reference Group
The Stop and Search Reference Group (SSRG) offers an independent view of the use of stop and search across Suffolk. It aims to ensure that the tool is used appropriately.
The SSRG meets every two months and is run by the Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE). Anyone with an interest in stop and search is welcome to attend. Please contact the SSRG on firstname.lastname@example.org
The group is particularly keen to encourage young people to attend as they represent the age-group most often subject to stop and search.
Feedback from police officers attending SSRG meetings is positive. The meetings aim to be constructive through identifying improvements where required, as well as reviewing the impact of previous changes that have been recommended.
ISCRE randomly selects a number of stop and search forms from individuals identified as White British, Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and Other White to analyse and discuss at the meeting. The group also reviews stop and search body worn video.
The group reviews the ‘reasonable grounds’ for the stop and search with a view to ensuring that the grounds are lawful, do not demonstrate any bias, whether this be conscious or unconscious, and are as specific and objective as they can be. Any positive comments are also passed on, for example when a form is clearly written or is based on well-described suspicious behaviour.
The group also question the role of the supervising officer who oversees the way that stop and search forms are completed. Sometimes forms are signed off when they could be written in a way which more clearly identifies the reasonable grounds for the stop and search. If the supervising officer can feed this back to the police officer, then the SSRG hopes that any future stop and searches carried out by that officer will be of a higher quality.
If you ever get stopped and searched, just remember GO WISELY. These are the basics that police officers should be providing to you. If they do not, it could result in an unlawful and unnecessary search.
G: Grounds for the search
O: Object the officer is searching for
W: Warrant, particularly if the officer is in plain clothes
I: Identification, proof that the officer is indeed a police officer!
S: Station to which the officer is attached
E: Entitlement, any citizen being searched by a police officer is entitled to copies of all paperwork
L: Legislation, the legal power which gives the officer the right to stop and search
Y: YOU are being detained for the search or for the purpose of…essentially informing the citizen in no uncertain terms the purpose and nature of the search
For more information about your rights: http://y-stop.org/
You have the right to a copy of information about you that Suffolk Police hold (with certain exemptions). This factsheet explains how you can get hold of that information >> FACTSHEET