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  • Writer's pictureNikki Latham

Force celebrates increase in applications for Stop and Search Public Scrutiny Panels

Dorset Police has seen an increase in applications for its Stop and Search Public Scrutiny Panels and is calling on more people to apply to help drive forward improvements.

The panels are held every three months and have seen an ongoing rise in applications from a diverse range of ages, genders and ethnicities.

The most recent panel was held on Monday 19 February 2024 at Bournemouth University and was made up of 21 panel members, led by Independent Chair Rachel Bailey and assisted by Detective Chief Inspector Greg Tansill.

The panel worked in small breakout groups to review 14 stop search encounters and four use of force incidents that took place between November 2023 and January 2024 and involved individuals from an ethnic minority and young people. The panel watched each interaction and then scored the officer using a standardised procedural justice scoring matrix developed by the University of Cambridge.

The panel also had the opportunity to record their general feedback on how they felt the interactions were carried out.

Since launching the public scrutiny panels in 2023 to assess how the Force is using its stop and search and use of force powers, there has been a sudden increase in public interest and applications.

The panels are designed to help the Force make improvements in the way that these powers are used and conducted. They are made up of representatives from local communities who are asked to watch Body Worn Video footage of real-life stop and search interactions and review the data to provide the Force with honest feedback on how it is using stop and search and use of force powers.

The panel members work with Dorset Police, and other community oversight groups, to help build and maintain trust and confidence with our local communities to ensure that we are using policing powers legitimately.   

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Lyne, of Dorset Police, said: “I am pleased to see an increase in applications, as it indicates that the public are seeing this a useful tool. The Force introduced this new panel as an additional layer of public scrutiny as part of our equality, diversity and inclusion commitment to ensure we are using our powers fairly and legitimately. 
“Dorset Police has a clear vision of a safe county for everyone, and in achieving this we use a range of policing powers including stop and search. We are committed to working with local communities to offer feedback on the way we approach this and help develop operational practice. 
“This is a perfect opportunity for members of our local communities to review our encounters and discuss openly our good practice, along with how improvements could be made. I would encourage those who believe they can assist, to register their interest today.” 
Independent Chair Rachel Bailey said: “The panel plays a critical role in holding the Force to account and scrutinising the use of police powers. This is particularly important for communities that are underrepresented and disproportionately affected. Community scrutiny and engagement is integral to rebuilding public trust, confidence and community ties, which remains an issue in the current climate.
“The panel must represent the different communities within Dorset, and I am delighted to see an increase in applications. Diverse membership is essential to ensure all communities are represented, and I would encourage anyone with an interest to apply.”

Help us make improvements to how we use stop and search and use of force powers by signing up today 👇

You can read the results from previous meetings here: Stop and search scrutiny panel reports | Dorset Police 

This news story has been produced by Chesil Radio's News Team, for more information please visit:

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