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Details published of enhanced stop and searches carried out in parts of Bristol

There are 3 related updates to this story

As part of our commitment to openness and transparency we are sharing the results of the enhanced stop and search powers introduced in some parts of Bristol at the end of last week.

The powers, under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, allowed officers to stop and search people without needing reasonable grounds for suspicion and were enacted in Bristol city centre, St Pauls, Easton, Eastville, Ashley Down, Temple and Fishponds from 5pm on Thursday (15 February) – 5pm on Saturday (17 February).

They were authorised following a number of serious violence incidents and in light of intelligence relating to these areas in recent weeks.

Ahead of being given these additional powers, officers were given a briefing by the force lead for stop and search Chief Inspector Vicks Hayward-Melen, so they understood how to use the powers legally and professionally.  

In total, 33 people were stopped using Section 60 powers during the 48 hour period they were authorised.

While no weapons were found in any of the searches, two people were found in possession of small amounts of cannabis.

One person was asked to remove their balaclava.

Extracts of a stop and search recorded on an officer’s body worn camera

More than half (17) of those stopped were aged between 18 and 24 with a just over a third (12) aged between 10 and 17.

Fourteen of those searched were white, 12 were black, six were mixed heritage while one was Asian.

Most of the searches happened in the Castle Park area but people were also stopped in Wine Street, Queen Square, River Street and Lansdown Road as well as Albany Road, Berkeley Square, Broadmead, Goodhind Street, Trinity Road, Stapleton Road and The Horsefair.

All the searches were recorded on body worn video and all of those stopped were offered a stop and search receipt.

Every stop carried out has been scrutinised and personally watched by Ch Insp Hayward-Melen and will be scrutinised externally by the Independent Scrutiny of Police Powers Panel as is standard practise for Section 60 searches and authorities.

Chief Inspector Hayward-Melen said: “We know that the decision to use the powers in some parts of the city and not others was of concern to some communities. The decision was based on recent incidents of violence in the designated areas and on current intelligence.

“The powers were brought in following consultation with stakeholders and community leaders and in direct response to those leaders telling us they wanted the police to do more to try and keep young people safe.

“We know that the disproportionality shown in these figures will be of great concern to many and we’d like to reassure people that every stop will be scrutinised externally by the Independent Scrutiny of Police Powers Panel.

“We are committed to working alongside all our partners and communities to reduce the harm caused by weapons on our streets. Knife crime and youth violence are complex, layered issues which require a long-term multi-agency strategy to make an impact. However, we do sometimes need to introduce short-term measures to keep people safe.

“The use of Section 60 powers is undoubtedly a short-term tool and we’ll be evaluating its impact and effectiveness as we go forward.”

You can find out more about the work going on to reduce the youth violence here.