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Publication - Consultation Responses

Consultation on a Draft Code of Practice for Stop and Search: Analysis of Responses

Published: 4 Nov 2016
Part of:
Law and order
ISBN:
9781786525703

Analysis of consultation responses received on the draft code of practice for stop and search.

50 page PDF

577.1kB

50 page PDF

577.1kB

Contents
Consultation on a Draft Code of Practice for Stop and Search: Analysis of Responses
5 Inclusion of a section on adults at risk and vulnerable adults (Q3)

50 page PDF

577.1kB

5 Inclusion of a section on adults at risk and vulnerable adults (Q3)

5.1 The draft Code of Practice made specific reference to searches of vulnerable adults only in Annex D which related to carrying out intimate searches. There were no other references to adults at risk in the Code, as it was drafted. Question 3 in the consultation asked for views on whether the Code should include a separate section on adults at risk and vulnerable adults:

Question 3: Should there be a separate section of the Code of Practice to deal specifically with searches of adults at risk and vulnerable adults? (Yes / No).

Question 3a: If you answered YES to Q3 - do you have any suggestions as to what should be included in a section on adults at risk and vulnerable adults?

5.2 Twenty-nine respondents (21 individuals and 8 organisations) answered Question 3. Table 5.1 shows that more than two-thirds (69%; 20 out of 29 respondents) thought that the Code should include a separate section relating to adults at risk and vulnerable adults. Organisations were unanimous in believing that such a section should be included in the Code, while individuals were divided in their views - with just over a half agreeing (57%; 12 out of 21).

Table 5.1: Q3 - Should there be a separate section of the Code of Practice to deal specifically with searches of adults at risk and vulnerable adults?

Respondent type

Yes

No

Total

n

%

n

%

n

%

Individuals

12

57%

9

43%

21

100%

Organisations

8

100%

0

0%

8

100%

All

20

69%

9

31%

29

100%

5.3 Seventeen respondents (8 individuals and 9 organisations) provided comments at Question 3a. All but one of these agreed that there should be a separate section on adults at risk and vulnerable adults; in the one remaining case the respondent indicated they had no strong views on the issue (and had not answered the tick-box question), but went on to provide comments relevant to such a section, should it be introduced. Thus none of those who answered 'No' to this question provided comments to explain their views.

5.4 The comments provided by respondents followed a similar pattern to those discussed in the previous chapter. They focused on reasons for thinking that there should be a separate section on adults at risk and vulnerable adults; and suggestions for what such a section should contain. These comments are covered in the following two sections, while a third and final section of the chapter covers other points made in response to the question.

Views on a separate section on adults at risk and vulnerable adults

5.5 In general, respondents thought that a separate section in the Code would be valuable for informing operational practice: it would help ensure that officers were aware of the needs of adults at risk and vulnerable adults, and followed appropriate principles and practice in dealing with such individuals.

5.6 Some also stressed the importance of providing information aimed at potentially vulnerable people so they could fully understand the stop and search process and outcomes.

Content of a section on adults at risk and vulnerable adults

5.7 As with Question 2, respondents provided comments relating to the principles which should underpin any guidance and the practicalities which should be covered. Respondents were clear that any separate section on vulnerable adults and adults at risk should:

  • Make reference to and be informed by existing relevant legislation, guidance and procedures ( e.g. the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003, adult support and protection arrangements, use of Appropriate Adults, relevant equalities legislation and duties)
  • Require and promote the sensitive treatment of vulnerable adults and adults at risk with regard to their specific needs and any equality characteristics (mental health, sexuality, ethnicity, life experiences, intellectual capacity, social functioning etc.).

5.8 Respondents suggested a range of issues that the Code should provide guidance on. These included:

  • The communication needs of vulnerable adults and adults at risk, and the importance of ensuring that these individuals understood the procedures involved and their rights in stop and search situations
  • Assessing and responding to risk, including suicide risk
  • Action to take if an individual does not appear to understand what is happening and why they are being searched
  • When to involve other services ( e.g. mental health services).

5.9 In terms of the conduct of searches, the following were also proposed:

  • A senior officer should be informed and present at a search (if possible).
  • An Appropriate Adult / relevant authority should be informed and in attendance (if possible).
  • Searches of vulnerable adults or adults at risk should only be carried out by specially trained officers.
  • There should be involvement of / referral to appropriate services, and information should be available to officers on this.
  • The vulnerable status of the individual should be recorded.

Other comments

5.10 Three further points were made by respondents as follows:

  • Identifying vulnerable adults or adults at risk: It was pointed out that it may not be immediately obvious to officers undertaking a search that an individual was a vulnerable adult or adult at risk, and that this had operational implications for adhering to any separate section in the Code.
  • Consultation: Advice should be sought from relevant organisations and individuals with expertise in this area (including within the police) to ensure the Code reflected best practice in this area. There were several suggestions as to specific individuals / organisations who might contribute to the development of such a section.
  • Format: Specific guidance on dealing with vulnerable adults and adults at risk should be presented in an annex to the Code.

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