Stop and search overhaul announced in new crime plan

A commissioner has vowed to overhaul "intrusive" stop and search powers as part of plans to make policing in the region more inclusive.

Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands, Simon Foster
Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands, Simon Foster

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster said there were "questions" over the effectiveness of stop and search as a measure to fight crime.

Announcing the region's new police and crime plan, he suggested that many searches conducted by officers may not meet the 'reasonable grounds' threshold.

He pledged to increase the rate of "positive outcomes" from stop and search and to reduce "ethnic disproportionality" in how the powers are used.

Labour PCC Mr Foster said stop and search needed to target violence and "what causes the most harm", such as "people carrying weapons".

He said that while stop and search can be "appropriate and necessary", it was "intrusive" and can damage confidence in policing among minority ethnic groups and young people.

"More needs to be done" to improve the use and oversight of the powers, he said, with "positive outcome" rates of 25-30 per cent "a cause for concern" and in need of improvement.

Mr Foster said it was "legitimate to ask if the 'reasonable grounds' threshold for a lawful search was being met in connection with many of the searches that take place.

He said he would be analysing why this was the case, and pledged to oversee a "greater use of intelligence led and evidence based searches.

In the PCC's police and crime plan, which has been signed off following a consultation, he has also promised to "rebuild" community policing and combat violence against women.

He also says he will tackle the causes of violence, such as the drugs market, and campaign for more government funding for his force.

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