Stop & Search (2057_16)

Request

I am seeking the following information relating to over 65s who have been stopped and searched:

– Over the last three years, how many persons over the age of 65 have been stopped and searched?

– How many of these searches were positive? (I.e. an item was found)

I would be grateful if this information could be broken down by age.

If you can only provide age brackets, and not exact ages (such as 65-70, 70-75 etc.) – please provide the age of the oldest person who was stopped and searched by your force – and whether this returned a positive result.

I would like the information above broken down separately for the last three calendar years (Jan-Dec) for 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Response

Please find attached (2057_attachment_01.pdf). With regard to whether a stop and search returned a ‘positive result’, the nearest information that we hold in an easily retrievable format (i.e. without having to conduct a manual examination of records that would exceed the appropriate limit (FOIA, s.12 (1)) is the ‘Outcome Code Description’. Therefore in order to assist and avoid refusing the request on cost grounds, this has instead been provided. I trust that this is satisfactory.

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. 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 above 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.

Attachments

2057_attachment_01

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