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StopWatch responds to Home Office consultation - changes to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984

Read StopWatch's full and detailed response to the Home Office's consultation on changes to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984

StopWatch welcomes the opportunity to respond to this consultation, regarding revisions required following Royal Assent of the Public Order Act 2023, changes agreed to in preparation for rescinding the Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme (BUSSS) and providing updates for both the ethnic categories found in Annex B and the start date of the Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVRO) pilot which took place in April of this year.

In particular, we must note our regret over previous home secretaries’ decisions to remove and eventually rescind BUSSS safeguards, and express grave reservations as to how standards of transparency and scrutiny can be maintained in their absence.

In summary, we believe that:

  • Several of the proposals made [a, b, c] risk being potentially superfluous to standards of conduct regarding police stop and searches
  • Other proposals appear too broadly defined [e, f], with a high degree of subjectivity and discretion granted to authorising officers’ operational decision-making, at the potential expense of individuals’ civil liberties
  • We understand the necessity for certain proposals to be included in the Code [d, g, h, i]; we would also urge the importance of ensuring that members of the public can scrutinise the implementation of the proposals and utilise their outcomes as evidence in support of the fair and proportionate use of stop and search powers.

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