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Outcome rate shows stop and search not bias driven, says Met Commander

Metropolitan Police Commander Jane Connors tells Police Oracle how stop and search figures can paint a "misleading" picture on how they are targeted.

Metropolitan Police Commander Jane Connors

Metropolitan Police Commander Jane Connors

Date - 10th December 2020
By - Chloe Livadeas
7 Comments 7 Comments}

Last week a study conducted by the Institute for Global City Policing made headlines after taking Home Office data for searches conducted by London’s forces.

It said men aged 18 – 24 identifying as black are 19 times more likely to be stopped and searched.

It also said the probability of a search resulting in a formal criminal justice outcomes is broadly the same across ethnicities.

But Commander Connors said the 19 figure was “misleading”, as this compared the number against the general population of the capital to months old babies to elderly women.

Gender is the largest predictor of a group with a higher search rate, followed by age.

Within the age band of 18 to 24, black males are four times more likely to be stopped and searched than the white males.

Commander Connors said the chance of further police action from stopping 100 white and 100 black is roughly the same (around one in four).

She said the narrative that the Met is targetting young black males purely because their black was false.

“If that was the case, we would expect the outcome rate to be very low, because there would be no real grounds to actually search them. But the fact the outcome rates are the same, shows that the stop and searches are not driven by bias.

“What that says is that officers are looking at and building their ground, based on the circumstances that they've got - not on the fact that it's a black individual. Because the consistent outcome rate show that officers are building their grounds, regardless of the ethnicity of the person that they're stopping and searching.”

She said Met officers were taking about 360-390 weapons off the street every month. “These are Rambo knives, zombie knives, guns, acid, knuckle dusters, you name it every single month, which is about 5000 a year, and they’re weapons that have only got one purpose. And that's to kill and maim people,” she said.

The force measures the volume of stop and search and makes the number public, but it doesn’t have a volumetric or outcome target.

But they do monitor outcomes rates closely. Commander Connors said they fluctuate up and down and have been rising, now standing around 23 per cent.

“But if the outcome rate is dropping, then that is that is a big concern for everybody, particularly the communities because that equates to the effectiveness of our search.”

She said the “key to any success is being able to work with a community”.

“We do consider the impact on all of our communities and being able to work with the community, so that they see us in a reassuring manner and they have trust and confidence in us around what we do and how we do it. That's absolutely one of our priorities to make sure that we deliver on that.”

Commander Connors stressed the importance of the “quality of the interaction” during a stop and that fully explaining the reason for the search is “really important so that communities can trust us and trust that we're doing the right the right tactics”.

The force is conducting sessions with community ambassadors, who are pairing up with some of the force’s pan London teams, such as the violent crime task force, and hearing from those with “lived experience”, who have been stopped and search before, if not multiple times before.

“There is a huge amount of firstly engagement to make sure that we really get into the communities and understand how the little things that we wouldn't even notice, but are really important, have an impact. And secondly, to make sure that we are fully scrutinised, and we can be held to account.”

The Met have stop and search scrutiny panels, where body worn video footage is viewed and feedback shared, something that London Mayor Sadiq Khan wants to take further as part of his Mayor’s Action Plan, where the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) are planning an “overhaul of community scrutiny”.

MOPAC plans to carry out “academic research” of a sample of BWV footage to “understand better the nature of stop and search interactions and the behaviour factors of officers or individuals that lead to escalation in the use of force”.

It also promises to “produce a quarterly race equality audit of the Met’s use of its powers and launch a three-month project with communities to co-design and launch this new scrutiny process”. 

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Johnny7 - Mon, 14 December 2020

Two more young black men murdered over the weekend by other young black men. Two families grieving and all as a kneejerk to BLM and the diversity brigade.

There will be more before Christmas. I wonder if a certain racing driver who is making a big issue of diversity even knows the names of these two unfortunate young men.

Probably not. Hypocrisy at its greatest.