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Results from enhanced stop and search powers released

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Officers carried out 14 searches under enhanced stop and search powers following an assault in Easton over the weekend.

Under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, officers were allowed to stop and search people without requiring reasonable grounds for suspicion. Under section 60AA of the same act, officers were also allowed to request individuals to remove any face coverings if they believed someone was trying to hide their identity.

The powers came into force on Sunday 9 June at 7pm following a serious assault involving knives in the early hours of the same day (9 June) near Rawnsley Park, in Easton.

The area the enhanced stop and search powers were in place.

Eleven people were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and all have now been released on conditional bail as enquiries continue.

One of victims from the incident remains in hospital recovering, while the second victim has been discharged to recover at home. Their injuries are no longer believed to be life-threatening or life changing.

As we continue our commitment to being open and transparent, we are sharing the results of this enhanced stop and search power.

All officers who used the powers completed an extended specialist briefing to explain the extent and deliver of the powers to ensure they were used correctly within our communities.

In total, 14 people were stopped using the powers during the 24-hour period they were authorised.

Of the searches, no weapons were found, however officers did find cannabis on two of the people searched.

Eight of the individuals searched were of Black heritage and six were of Asian heritage.

Thirteen of the 14 people were between the ages of 18 and 24 and one was between 10-17 years old.

No one was requested to remove any face coverings using the section 60AA power.

As with all stop and searches, all searches were recorded on body worn video and those who were searched were offered and stop and search receipt.

Chief Inspector for East Bristol and force lead for stop and search, Vicks Hayward-Melen, said: “We understand this tactic is not welcomed by all and that some people feel it is used to over-police certain communities. We are mindful of this whenever we make the challenging decision to use these powers, at the same time as weighing up the need to prevent further violence or escalation and reassure the public we are doing all we can to keep communities safe.

“I have and will continue to personally review all the stop and searches carried out under this power via the body worn video. We will also be ensuring this will be further scrutinised externally by the Independent Scrutiny of Police Powers Panel as is standard for searches under this power.

“We will analyse the data from this latest use of section 60 to understand its effectiveness in preventing serious violence and any disproportionality. We will be transparent and open with what we find and work in partnership with our communities, including our Race Matters Community Network, to find a suitable way forward.”

Section 60 powers were last used in Bristol in February following a series of knife crime incidents in the city centre, south Bristol, and east Bristol. You can read more about the results from this here.

Talking about the recent incident near Rawnsley Park, Ch Insp Hayward-Melen added: “The recent incidents in Stapleton Road and the surrounding area in the past few months has had a significant impact on the local community.

“We are making sure our Neighbourhood Policing Team for Easton is visible and available for members of the community to approach them with any concerns they may have.

“There is no place for knife crime on our streets or in our communities. We are committed as the police to doing everything we possibly can to stop this, from working with our intelligence teams to identify those who are posing the most risk in our communities, conducting knife sweeps, and engaging with our communities to alert them to the dangers.

“We can only act on information we are told, so our plea to the public is to please report if you see or hear of anything that concerns you, you can report online on our website, or by calling 101, or you can report anonymously to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111. Help us tackle this together and prevent more senseless incidents and loss of lives.”

You can find out more about our response to knife crime here.

The Easton Neighbourhood Policing Team will also be hosting an event on Tuesday 18 June at 7pm at the Easton Christian Family Centre (Beaufort St, BS5 0SQ). This will provide an opportunity for local residents to raise their concerns and talk to our officers.