Hereford & Worcester

Warwickshire and West Mercia Police 'need to improve' records and support

Two West Midlands police forces "require improvement" over how they record stop and search and support their staff, inspectors said.

West Mercia and Warwickshire were among five forces to be given the rating by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).

Criticism included "too many records [of stop and search] did not contain sufficient reasonable grounds".

HMIC said both forces were, however, developing "an ethical culture".

The forces said they had made support for staff a "top priority for 2016" and they would be reviewing training on stop and search and working with Northamptonshire Police.

'Forces not complying'

Inspectors did however, say the forces were "good" in their commitment to and engagement with their communities.

Warwickshire carried out 3,092 top and searches in the year to 31 March 2015, while West Mercia did 9,874.

A sample of 100 stop and search records from Warwickshire Police revealed 29 did not have reasonable grounds recorded, said HMIC. In West Mercia's case it was 21 out of 100.

While all chief constables had signed up to the Home Office and College of Police's Best Use of Stop and Search scheme, HMIC said it was "disappointed too many forces were not complying".

HMIC said it would revisit both forces in six months to check what changes had been made.

The two forces were also told to improve the way they dealt with staff complaints, with misconduct consistently assessed and free from any bias.

HMIC inspected all 43 forces in England and Wales, grading 37 as "good" while Kent Police were dubbed "outstanding". None was "inadequate".

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