NPIA works with Kent Police to test new process for stop and search recording

Tuesday, 11 October, 2011

A new initiative to make stop and search recording more efficient could save the police service more than £1 million pounds a year in paper and administration costs and save thousands of hours of police time.

The NPIA is working with Kent Police to set up and run a pilot before the end of the year that will enable police officers to record the details of the stop (ethnicity, objective of search, grounds for search, identity of the officer carrying out the stop and search, date, time and place) via their police radios rather than filling in a form by hand.

The technology automatically transcribes spoken language and stores the transcription and voice recording on a central computer.

The aim of the two-month pilot is to test how the technology works in an operational environment. Currently police officers have to type the details of a stop and search from handwritten forms into a force system which on average takes a force around five minutes per recorded stop.

Computerising the process could mean that information such as number of stops and ethnicity of people stopped could be collated and published monthly rather than yearly.

This initiative is in response to the government's objective to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy in the police service and is also part of the NPIA's Next Steps programme, which works with forces to ensure transparency and accountability in the use of the Stop and Search.

Nick Deyes, NPIA head of the Information Systems Improvement Strategy (ISIS), said: "Fair and proportionate use of Stop and Search in targeted areas is a vital part of the criminal justice process as it helps to disrupt crime and bring criminals to justice."

"This new initiative will potentially transform stop and search recording by standardising the process across the police service, making it more efficient and less bureaucratic - improvements which would benefit both the police and the communities they serve."

Superintendent Stuart Kehily from Kent Police said: "Kent Police is pleased to work with the NPIA by taking part in this pilot initiative. We are keen to explore any opportunity to use voice technology that will reduce the amount of form filling for police officers and allow them to record stop and searches more efficiently."

The stop and search recording pilot project forms part of the Information Systems Improvement Strategy, a reform programme for the police service that is using IT to improve efficiency. This will release savings and deliver operational improvements across policing and the wider criminal justice system.

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