Stop and Search under 10’s (3400_16)

Request

Please would you provide?

1. For the calendar years 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 and 2016 to date, records of all children aged 0-9 who you stopped and searched.

For each record, please give:

a) the age of the subject
b) the object of the search
c) the policing operation (if applicable)

Response

Please note, we are aware of inaccuracies contained within the stop and search data that we hold. West Midlands Police are committed to improving the quality of our data and therefore invested in a new IT based recording system (eSearch) in order to address these inaccuracies. Between April 2014 and October 2014 this system was implemented across the whole Force area. Following implementation of eSearch, data quality and accountability are vastly improved.*

In order to further raise overall standards, all front line officers within West Midlands Police have recently undergone refresher training in relation to their Stop and Search powers.

Date of Birth / Ages

Data on ages is calculated from the date of birth as and where recorded (the subject of a stop and search can refuse to provide their date of birth) on our systems. However, as explained above we are aware that data we hold on those who were subject to Stop and Search contains inaccuracies. Researching the reasons for these inaccuracies we have discovered the following examples:

Human error – e.g. there are at least 990 ‘0’ year olds in the attached data that relate to records where the date of the search is the same as the recorded date of birth.

The date of birth has been recorded incorrectly by our scanning and interpreting equipment. If the handwriting is not easily distinguishable, then errors can occur. For example, a ‘6’ can be interpreted as a ‘0’.

The data provided is therefore subject to the inaccuracies highlighted and as a consequence, if you decide to write an article / use the enclosed data, we would ask you to take into consideration the factors highlighted in this document so as to not mislead members of the public or official bodies, or misrepresent the relevance of the whole or any part of this disclosed material.*

2015

*During 2015, eSearch became the sole platform for recording Stop and Search. It allows us to properly review Stop and Search activity both at Force and LPU level. During June 2015 data for 2015 was reviewed for under 10‘s as the figures still appeared very high, especially with the introduction of the new recording process. The 103 records were reviewed and errors were identified, this was caused by Operators incorrectly keying in dates of birth, mistakenly entering the processing date instead, at this time it was apparent that only 4 records of the103 (at that time ) actually related to searches of under 10’s for that period.
A further stop and search was completed within 2015 with stop and searches for 2015 totalling 104, this record was reviewed and found to be entered incorrectly, therefore the total of 4 under 10’s stop and searched remains unchanged.

In order to remedy the keying errors going forward, a ‘pop-up’ warning has been introduced to eSearch which warns the Operator that the subject is under 10 years of age, this ensures the operator is able to further check the information they are inputting is correct. This has improved the data quality for under 10’s Stop and Search, to the point that no Stop and Searches for person’s under 10 years of age have been recorded for 2016 to date.

Attachments

3400_ATTACHMENT

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