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Community Scrutiny Group

The model of policing we have in this country, based on public co-operation, is respected around the world.  It relies on the police behaving in a way which maintains the support of the public.

The ‘Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme’ was announced by the Home Secretary in 2014 with the principal aims of the Scheme being to achieve greater transparency and community involvement in the use of stop and search powers, and to support a more intelligence-led approach.

The Commissioner fully supports this programme and to facilitate this a Community Scrutiny Panel was created. This is a group of volunteers who live, work or study within Cambridgeshire, who regularly meet to scrutinise police incidents of Stop and Search or application of their Use of Force power.

Body Worn Video footage is selected by an independent Chair, pictured below, who then takes the panel members through a process of scrutiny and reports the outcome of each incident back to the Constabulary, enabling learning and influencing change.

Whilst the Commissioner’s Office provides administrative support, the Panel itself (consisting of 15 panel members at each meeting) acts in complete independence.   The panel meets across the county to allow as many people as possible to attend.  The meetings alternate between Stop and Search and application of Use of Force. The panel takes a sample of available records to scrutinise and assess at each meeting.

Through participating in this panel, the Constabulary seek to improve public trust by showing that they are fully accountable for their actions.

Independent chair, Al Gadney from Cambridge pictured above.

Stop and Search

Stop and Search powers are used by the police to allay or confirm suspicions that an individual has or is about to commit a crime without individuals being arrested.

The use of these powers aim to make a positive contribution to reducing fear of crime in the area and making our communities safer whilst increasing community confidence in the police.

However, if delivered incorrectly it can have the opposite effect and in recent years there has been a great deal of publicity surrounding police powers being used poorly, degrading trust in the police.

Being searched doesn’t mean that that person is being arrested or is guilty of any crime, only that the officer has reasonable intelligence to suspect they could be. It is important that Individuals therefore understand their associated rights.

Consequently, how the police undertake Stop and Search as well as explaining why the process is taking place can ensure the individual leaves with a professional and fair experience. A strict police code of ethics must always be adhered to.

As a member of the Community Scrutiny Panel, you are trained to ensure you can play an active role in monitoring and ensuring these powers are exercised correctly, , proportionately and professionally. Data on Stop and Search within Cambridgeshire can be found on the Constabulary website, and this is frequently reviewed alongside individual cases at Panel.

The minutes from each panel meeting will be provided below.

Use of Force

On occasion it is necessary for officers to use force on a person to uphold the law, keep the public safe, and protect individuals from harm. They are given legal powers to do so. Use of Force can range from man-handling, handcuffing to use of deterrent sprays, taser and as a last resort armed weapons.

The justification for using force sits with that individual officer, regardless of any other instructions.

Guidance issued by the College of Policing strives to ensure the very minimum level of force is used, for the minimum amount of time and is proportionate to the threat being posed. Officers are trained to continually assess, often very dynamic and changing situations, whilst adhering to the policing code of ethics to demonstrate respect, honesty and integrity. 

Before using force, an officer must endeavour to deescalate the situation wherever possible to avoid force being used. Often this is impractical and therefore scrutiny of force is a crucial tool within the community to ensure legitimacy of policing in these difficult circumstances.

After using force, a police officer must record every application on an internal system, and together with Body Worn Video a sample of monthly data is reviewed by the Scrutiny Panel and assessed for proportionality and professionalism.  As a member of the Community Scrutiny Panel, you are trained to ensure you can play an active role in scrutinising Use of Force and contribute to discussion about it’s application, whilst also assessing for feedback to the Constabulary.

Please note the below pages are currently under build.

Stop & Search by Year

No data

Use of Force by Year

No data