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Stop search and use of force scrutiny panel

Having trust and belief in Cambridgeshire Constabulary is absolutely essential to our communities. In being open and transparent with them on issues such as stop and search and the use of force, and showing that we are accountable for our actions, we aim to improve that trust.

A community panel has been created to look at both of these issues to scrutinise our use of them. New volunteers to join the group are welcome and further details are below.

Members of the panel meet quarterly. They review and scrutinise our use of stop and search and use of force, which can include unarmed defence tactics, the use of physical restraint, such as handcuffs, and the use of other police equipment, including incapacitant spray.

Random dip-samples take place and the panel then meet to look at the method and legality of stop and searches and the appropriateness of the use of force.

By examining records, officer statements and body worn video footage, they provide feedback to the Constabulary. Any feedback received from any of the scrutiny sessions, either positive or negative, is fed back into the organisation so we can continue to listen to your views and shape our organisation so we can proudly serve our communities in the manner which they expect and deserve.

Getting involved

The countywide panel will consist of members who live, work or study within Cambridgeshire. Our aim is to ensure the panel will represent the demographics of the county. The minimum age for taking part will be 16.

Membership will be annually reviewed to ensure the panel continues to represent the demographic.

If you are interested in joining, please email the panel


Summary Response to Community Scrutiny Feedback

2021 saw the introduction of External Community Scrutiny Panels for both Stop & Search and Use of Force by Cambridgeshire officers.  The panels consist of independent members of the community and meet to look at a dip sample of encounters each quarter. They scrutinise the TuServ record and any associated Body Worn Video footage and provide feedback in relation to the encounter to enable the Constabulary to improve its processes and enhance its training where appropriate.

This document summarises the Constabulary’s response to feedback given by the External Community Scrutiny panels for Stop & Search and Use of Force during 2021.

System updates


  • Review of a Stop Search on Behalf of another - Allows Supervisors to review other Stop searches rather than the current method of only being able to review their own direct staff reports. This will reduce workload on supervisors and speed up review times.
  • GOWISELY2 box to ensure GOWISELY given to subjects - Enables monitoring of GOWISELY and allows forces to monitor compliance if necessary. The Quality Assurance (QA) screen will allow officers to see what they are inputting before submission and this will reduce errors or omissions.
  • Self Defined Ethnicity (SDE) to become a mandatory reporting field - ensure SDE recorded correctly in line with Data quality and correct recording
  • Mandated field added to confirm Body Worn Video (BWV) used
  • Mandated field to be added for supervisors to ensure BWV if available has been reviewed – improve individual and organisational learning with regular monitoring and policy compliance
  • Recording of all Use of Force data onto TuServ for consistency of reporting (Autumn 2021)
  • Additional data field added to ‘Authority’ in respect of Section 23 Misuse of Drugs Act searches – identify if search is for simple Possession or Possession with Intent To Supply Controlled Drugs (PWITS)

Body Worn Video (BWV)

  • Body Worn Video data storage being extended from 1 month to 3 months to assist with the panel process after their feedback.
  • Body Worn Video charging facilities being put in Airwave lockers after their observation that officer’s cameras were either not available due to lack of charge or running out during the encounter.

Training / Organisational Development / Improvement

  • Enhanced training on Stop and Search and Use of Force - delivered to frontline teams (May/June 2021) recording, grounds, proportionality etc and includes scrutiny process, use of BWV at commencement of encounter
  • Improved data reporting for both Stop and Search and Use of Force on a monthly basis to the data sub-group for further analysis
  • Training delivery to all existing panel members – Stop and Search and Use of Force, (including inputs from Professional Standards Department, Armed Policing Unit, Exploitation/County Lines safeguarding lead)
  • Training presentation created for onward delivery to new members and to support annual refresher training if required (due early Jan 2022)
  • Established an improved panel meeting process – frequency, presentations of data and Body Worn Video, meeting packs etc…
  • External Scrutiny panel Terms of Reference agreed
  • Further support /training to frontline officers to ensure legitimate ‘Grounds’ are used and recorded with sufficient detail, descriptions etc
  • Opportunities for scrutiny group members to volunteer as observers or role actors for student officer Stop and Search training sessions
  • Production of Beds, Cambs & Herts (BCH) bitesize Stop and Search training videos for all frontline staff/scrutiny panel members
  • Revised feedback/assessment reporting forms for scrutiny meetings
  • Established feedback reporting process – Panel – OPCC – Constabulary.  Examples of the sort of feedback being given from the panels are:
    • Ensuring BWV is switched on at the earliest opportunity during an encounter
    • The need for better reporting when Force (however minor) is used during a Stop Search
    • Appropriate language when dealing with minors
    • Clarity on explaining grounds when further searching is necessary for additional items
    • Positive feedback given when officer’s have been professional, dealt with the subject well and have had good grounds
    • Insufficient Grounds on some searches
  • Development of an internal scrutiny board that dip samples Stop search records each month and will feedback to specific officers and teams as well as organisationally through Professional development units and Tradecraft officers.

1 The software used by officers to record Stop and Searches

2 A mnemonic reminder for officers covering the minimum information that should be given to a subject being searched


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