9 August 2017
StopWatch and Release’s response to the Home Office’s proposed revised ‘Best Use of Stop and Search’
The Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme (BUSSS) obligates forces to make stop and search more transparent, to record and publish more data on the police power, and improve community engagement. The Home Office have conducted a 9 month review of BUSSS and recently released a revised version for consultation but only allowed 3 weeks for comments to be submitted, severely limiting response from campaign and community groups. It is apparent to StopWatch and Release the poor treatment of campaign and community groups received by the Home Office cannot be regarded as an inclusive and extensive public consultation.
When the then Home Secretary Theresa May launched BUSSS in April 2014, she sought to address the misuse of stop and search, in particular its waste of police time, the unfairness of it to black men, and its damage to public confidence. While we welcome the decrease in the number of stop and search and slight improvements in effectiveness, in its first three years BUSSS has failed to improve the three areas of concern shared by the then Home Secretary, campaign charities and communities: stop and search continues to be ineffective, wasting police time, it continues to be disproportionately targeted against black and minority ethnic communities and damages public confidence in the police. The revised version of BUSSS that has been circulated for comment does little, if anything, to change this.
BUSSS 2.0 fails to acknowledge the continuing problems with stop and search and is strangely silent on the issue of fairness and disproportionality. BUSSS 2.0 does not address the lack of effectiveness of stop and search, set standards for intelligence lead stop and search to reduce violent crime and avoids the problem of discrimination to BAME groups and children and young people.
This response, written by StopWatch and Release, addresses some general comments about BUSSS 2.0 and deals with specific issues raised in the draft proposal.