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Public invited to observe North Yorkshire Police use of stop and search powers

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Police are calling for more people to apply to observe officers using their stop and search powers, as part of a new scheme to increase transparency.

Under the Stop and Search Lay Observer Scheme, members of the public can apply to accompany officers on patrol when they might deploy stop and search powers.

North Yorkshire Police officers carry out about 20 stop searches per day, and these powers are an effective policing tool to detect crime, recover property and arrest offenders. The force has adopted the Home Office Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme to increase transparency and further improve our use of these powers. Since its launch, one member of the public has already accompanied officers under the scheme, with a further six attachments planned in the near future.

Police are particularly keen to attract younger lay observers (aged 18 to 25) and lay observers in the Craven and Scarborough areas, which have seen fewer applicants so far, but applications from anywhere in York and North Yorkshire are very welcome.

Feedback from the first attachment was very positive, with the member of the public describing it as “extremely interesting and instructive” and said she would be “very likely” to recommend the lay observer scheme to others.

Chief Inspector Mark Grange, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “Under the lay observation scheme, officers have the opportunity to demonstrate their use of stop and search, while members of the public will be provided with the opportunity to see it in action, and provide feedback based on their observations.

“We have had a good number of applicants so far, but we are keen to encourage more people to apply, to help us further improve understanding and our use of stop and search.”

Applicants will need to be voluntarily vetted prior to being approved to accompany an officer, and will need to be flexible regarding the hours they accompany an officer and the area where they patrol. A number of other restrictions apply, which are outlined on the application form.

To find out more about the use of stop and search by North Yorkshire Police, visit www.northyorkshire.police.uk/stopsearch. To apply online to join the Stop and Search Lay Observer Scheme, visit www.northyorkshire.police.uk/layobserver.

Last modified: June 13, 2018