Most forces have achieved compliance with the Stop and Search scheme

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has revisited 19 forces shown by a 2015 inspection as not complying with one or two elements of the Best Use of Stop and Search (BUSS) scheme.

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Best Use of Stop and Search second revisits

The HMIC report published today sets out that 15 forces were conforming with the scheme; of the four forces not compliant at the time of revisit, two have demonstrated that they now meet the terms of the scheme.

Although too late to be reflected in the report findings, HMIC is aware that Northamptonshire has also now taken steps to publish their stop and search data, while Derbyshire is in the process of doing so.

Her Majesty’s Inspector Mike Cunningham, who led the inspection, said:

“I am pleased that the vast majority of forces are now meeting the standards set out in the BUSS scheme. At the time of the revisit, four forces were still to implement one aspect of the scheme. As our report shows, two of those forces have since demonstrated that they have taken steps to remedy this. The latest information from Northamptonshire Police indicates that it has now also taken steps to do so, while Derbyshire Constabulary is yet to be fully compliant.

“Stop and Search powers are some of the most intrusive powers the police have, and, used correctly, are a legitimate form of combating crime. However, used incorrectly, they can erode the relationship between police officers and the communities they serve. That’s why it’s so important that all forces scrupulously demonstrate that they use these powers appropriately.”

The BUSS scheme was introduced by the Home Office in 2014 to improve transparency and community involvement, in order to help increase public confidence and trust in the powers and all 43 forces voluntarily signed up to it . As part of PEEL inspections in 2015, HMIC assessed the compliance with the scheme of each of the 43 police forces across England and Wales. Subsequently, 13 forces found to be non-compliant with the scheme were suspended from the scheme by the Home Secretary in February 2016 and a further 19 forces were put on notice. In July 2016 we revisited the 13 suspended forces and reported our findings in September 2016. In November 2016 we revisited the 19 on-notice forces.

HMIC will continue to consider the use of stop and search powers more widely as part of our 2017/2018 PEEL legitimacy inspections.

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Best Use of Stop and Search second revisits


  1. HMIC is an independent inspectorate, inspecting policing to promote improvements in policing that make everyone safer, and assesses and reports on the efficiency and effectiveness of police forces to tackle crime and terrorism, improve criminal justice and raise confidence. HMIC inspects all 43 police forces in England and Wales together with other major policing and law enforcement bodies.
  2. In 2014, the Home Office and College of Policing launched the Best Use of Stop and Search (PDF document) (BUSS) scheme, with the aims of achieving greater transparency, community involvement in the use of stop and search powers and to support a more intelligence-led approach, leading to better outcomes.
  3. In 2015, HMIC assessed the 43 forces’ compliance with each feature of the scheme, as part of our 2015 PEEL Legitimacy inspection. That inspection identified that only 11 forces were complying with all five features of the scheme; 19 forces were not complying with one or two features of the scheme and 13 forces were not complying with three or more features.
  4. In November 2016, HMIC reviewed force websites, the website and documents submitted to us by forces, to reassess each force’s compliance with the feature(s) of the scheme with which they were non-compliant in 2015.
  5. The 19 forces subject to a revisit inspection in 2016 were:
    • City of London;
    • Cleveland;
    • Derbyshire;
    • Devon and Cornwall;
    • Dorset;
    • Durham;
    • Essex;
    • Greater Manchester;
    • Hertfordshire;
    • Humberside;
    • Kent;
    • Merseyside;
    • Metropolitan;
    • Northamptonshire;
    • North Wales;
    • North Yorkshire;
    • South Yorkshire;
    • Surrey; and
    • West Midlands.

    HMIC revisited these forces in the summer of 2016. 13 forces were not complying with three or more features of the scheme.

  6. The 13 forces that were not complying with three or more features were revisited in July 2016 and a report was published in September 2016.
  7. For further information, HMIC’s press office can be contacted during office hours from 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday – Friday on 0203 513 0600.
  8. HMIC’s out-of-hours press office line for urgent media enquiries is 07836 217 729. Follow HMIC on Twitter