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Government lifts emergency stop and search restrictions

Extension of stop and search pilot

16 August 2019
Government lifts emergency stop and search restrictions

Following an urgent review commissioned by the Prime Minister, a stop and search pilot has been extended to all police forces in England and Wales. This means it will be simpler for forces to use Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, which allows officers to stop and search anyone in a designated area without needing reasonable grounds for suspicion as long as they anticipate a risk of serious violence taking place. The extended pilot will:

  • Reduce the level of authorisation needed for officers to deploy and extend Section 60 from senior officers to inspectors and superintendents
  • Lower the degree of certainty required by the authorising officer so they must reasonably believe an incident involving serious violence ‘may’, rather than ‘will’, occur
  • Extend the initial period a Section 60 can be in force from 15 to 24 hours, and extend the overall period an extension can be in place from 39 to 48 hours

Last year almost 7,000 arrests for offensive weapons were made following a stop and search. Police forces will still be required to record data to monitor the fair and proper use of stop and search. Additionally, the College of Policing is currently consulting on new guidance for forces on community engagement around the use of stop and search.

The government has also opened consultations on draft guidance on measures in the Offensive Weapons Act concerning the sale and delivery of corrosive products and knives as well as Knife Crime Prevention Orders (KCPOs). KCPOs are civil orders which can be imposed by courts on any person aged 12 or over where police can show on the balance of probabilities that they have been carrying a bladed article at least twice. The draft guidance on the use of KCPOs is for the police and Crown Prosecution Service, but the MA will be responding to the consultation. If you have any comments, please contact Jo Easton.

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