The Home Secretary has criticised Derbyshire police for the way officers stop and search suspects and made it the only force in country suspended from the Government’s flagship scheme.
The force is suspended from the Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme (BUSS) with immediate effect.
As part of its inspection programme, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) found widespread problems in forces’ compliance with BUSS.
In response, the then Home Secretary suspended 13 forces, put a further 19 ‘on notice’ and commissioned a HMIC follow-up inspection.
HMIC’s follow-up findings were published last month and, at the time of publication, they declared that all forces in England and Wales are now BUSS compliant, with the exception of Derbyshire.
Derbyshire was found to be failing to collect and publish information on the link between reasons for stop and searches and their outcome. The Home Secretary has therefore suspended Derbyshire’s membership with immediate effect and will decide on the force’s future in the scheme based on the findings of an HMIC follow up inspection later this year.
Derbyshire is the only force in England and Wales currently suspended from the Scheme.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: ““Membership of this scheme demonstrates to the public that their local police force is using the powers of stop and search in way that is fair, effective and transparent.
“The latest national statistics show that the overall number of stop and searches continue to fall and the arrest rate has risen to its highest level on record – evidence that the Government’s reforms to stop and search are working.
“To ensure high standards continue to be met, I have suspended Derbyshire with immediate effect and now expect them to take this opportunity to improve their performance.”
The Best Use of Stop and Search scheme was launched in the summer of 2014. All 43 forces in England and Wales, and British Transport Police, signed up voluntarily. The scheme requirements include recording all outcomes of stop and search and whether there is a connection between the grounds for the search and the outcome, in order to increase transparency.