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Panel backs the way police use stop and search powers in Lichfield

A panel in Lichfield has backed the way stop and search powers are used by police in Lichfield.

Police officers on patrol

Police officers on patrol

The Lichfield Safer Neighbourhood Panel examined records to ensure officers were following procedure and correctly carrying out the process.

The panel was one of a number across Staffordshire created by Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis to increase the scrutiny of local policing teams.

As well as examining figures on the number of stop and searches carried out, the panel were also able to review body camera videos to ensure processes were carried out in accordance with the law.

Commissioner Ellis said: “This was a real opportunity for the panel in Lichfield to be given an insight into community policing and holding to account those responsible for policing in their area.

“I make no apology for believing that local policing, and the public playing a part in influencing that, is vital throughout Staffordshire – which is why I established Safer Neighbourhood Panels.

“The reviews of stop and search, along with the growing influence of officers wearing body-worn cameras, underlines that police are restoring confidence into the community.”

Between June and August 2017 – the scrutiny period – there were just under 30 stop and searches in Lichfield.

Of those, five were reviewed, with the findings showing that officers demonstrated ‘very good application of protocols, across a range of situations’.

One of the cases reviewed involved an insecure vehicle at Drayton Manor Theme Park, which was reported as having gas bottles inside and was unattended. This was during a period of high alert following terrorist attacks elsewhere.

The report added: “Comment has to be made of the good interactions between the police and the staff of Drayton Manor.

“Although it turned out to be a false alarm, it still required organisation and correct procedure in the face of a potential terrorist incident. This was handled calmly and sensibly.”

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.