Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary for Scotland (HMICS) is gearing towards an inquiry into the use of stop and search tactics by Police Scotland. The move has been prompted by the recent controversy that erupted after insider allegations of the unethical use of the powers – more specifically the fabrication of stop search figures.
News of the forthcoming review was revealed by HM Inspector of Constabulary Derek Penman in an interview for Holyrood magazine. As Penman explained, HMICS will seek to determine if claims of inaccurate records are indeed true. If they are, the review will try to determine the extent to which this unethical practice has spread. In addition to auditing, HMICS will also make a point to explore the ways in which the system can be improved, so that no unethical recording is able to take place. It is critical to have the proper checks and balances in place, otherwise public confidence in the police force will suffer, Penman added.
The review is expected to take two or three months to complete and comes in the wake of an inquiry carried out by the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), Holyrood said. The investigation by HMICS will take a different form to that of the SPA, however, due to the nature of HMICS’ responsibilities, which involve performance inspection, monitoring and evaluation of Police Scotland and the SPA. HMICS will conduct individual audits to ascertain if ethical recording is taking place in stop searches. Holyrood added that another review is in the pipeline, due to focus on whether the police force keeps proper and accurate records of crimes.