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28 April 2014
Further delay to SPA review of stop and search

Further delay to SPA review of stop and search

Findings from a review of stop and search across Scotland will not be released for up to another month, it has emerged.

Members of the Scottish Police Authority, the civilian body charged with oversight of Police Scotland, have spent the last eight months scrutinising use of the tactic.

It comes amid growing controversy over the use of stop and search by the single service, with staffing associations questioning overall figures quoted by the force.

A scrutiny task group set up by the SPA had initially expected to deliver a report on findings by the end of March.

That date was subsequently pushed back to the end of this month, though this second delay means it will now be May before the review will be published.

A special meeting of the Authority is to be scheduled by the end of next month following "further stakeholder engagement" to consider findings and recommendations of the task group.

The review was established to assess: the general picture of stop and search across Scotland; effectiveness of stop and search against desired outcomes; proportionality of stop and search in terms of geography and demographics; operational knowledge and its relation to policy and procedure; as well as police officer knowledge, training and views on stop and search.

“The Scrutiny Task Group’s preliminary desktop research and analysis against these objectives has now been completed, interviews with a sample of officers at ranks from constable to superintendent commissioned and completed, and emerging findings and recommendations have been identified,” says a paper to be presented at this Wednesday’s meeting of the SPA.

“Police Scotland have been supportive in providing data and access to officers for the review.

“Task Group members had initially planned to publish findings at the 30 April meeting. It is now the intention of the Scrutiny Task Group to carry out a further stakeholder engagement exercise to test the emerging findings with the relevant police staff associations.”

It comes as Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary for Scotland (HMICS) announced their intention to undertake a review of their own focused on the recording of searches by police officers.

HM Inspector of Constabulary, Derek Penman, told Holyrood the scrutiny body would concentrate on assertions that officers are making up stop search figures.

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