IOPC welcomes report seeking to address disproportionate use of stop and search by police

Published: 26 Feb 2021

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) welcomes a report published today (26 Feb) by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) that reflects our own concerns over the police’s use of stop and search powers and use of force against Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people.

The disproportionate use of these powers within certain communities has long been a cause for concern and today’s report further reinforces the need for real and much needed change in order to improve public confidence in policing.

HMICFRS found forces are still unable to explain why these powers are used disproportionately based on ethnicity and risk losing trust if they cannot show the use of stop and search and use of force are fair.

We raised the same concerns last year and in July announced the start of work with an increased focus on investigations involving race discrimination to identify the trends and patterns that might help drive the meaningful changes needed.

We also started a review of Taser complaints, which aims to identify opportunities for learning and improvement. The review is progressing well and we have looked at more than 100 of our investigations involving Taser use since 2015, including analysing those where there were allegations of racial discrimination.

IOPC Director General Michael Lockwood said: “It is essential that police forces have the trust and confidence of the communities they serve. That is why the work we and our partners, like HMICFRS, are carrying out is so vital in supporting police accountability for the powers entrusted to them.

“Only by understanding the causes of this disproportionality – and helping officers to understand fully how their use of stop and search and use of force impacts on those most affected – can we start to make the changes that are needed. The HMICFRS report highlights the fundamental shift we need to see in the culture of policing in being open and accountable when concerns are raised.

“I welcome this report and its findings, which reflect what we have been told by communities as part of our own work. That is why we made 11 recommendations in October to help the Metropolitan Police Service improve its use of stop and search, all of which were accepted by the force.

“I am aware the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) continues to work on its action plan for inclusion and race equality in policing and hope that today’s report, as well as our own work to drive the real change needed in policing, will be taken into account as part of this project.”

  • Discrimination