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HMICFRS update on the CJA’s super-complaint

Just over a year ago, we submitted a super-complaint calling for the repeal of Section 60 suspicionless searches and more effective community scrutiny of stop and search. Unlike other types of stop and search, section 60 allows police officers to stop and search individuals in a given area for a set time without needing reasonable grounds to suspect they’ve committed a crime.

We received an update from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Service (HMICFRS) on their ongoing investigation, to share with CJA members:

More harm than good – “A super-complaint on the harms caused by ‘suspicion-less’ stop and searches and inadequate scrutiny of stop and search powers”.

HMICFRS, the College of Policing and Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) have been working hard on the investigation into the super-complaint you have made. This is our largest super-complaint investigation to date.

What are we investigating?

The two main investigative themes in our investigation are:

· whether the police are effective in their application of section 60 CJPOA “stop and search” legislation and powers?

· whether the police internal and wider independent scrutiny of stop and search application is effective?

Our aims

The aims of the investigation are to assess whether the police use of section 60 CJPOA causes or could cause significant harm to the public interest. Our investigation assesses whether the police application of their powers under section 60 CJPOA and the scrutiny of all stop & search powers, is fair, consistent, effective, and transparent. Our aim is to ensure that the outcomes of the investigation will provide learning to improve police practice and the service to the public.

Our methodology

We have developed a comprehensive methodology to enable the investigation across these features. The investigation includes reviewing research, data, fieldwork in forces, engagement with experts and stakeholders, including those affected by the use of stop & search powers.

We have a team of people working together on the investigation at HMICFRS, the College of Policing and IOPC.


The investigation phase of the work will continue until the Autumn when we’ll start to work out what the material we have obtained tells us.

We’ll then start the process of drafting our report and considering if we need to make recommendations and if so, what these should be.


We hope you have found this update helpful. If you have any questions please direct them to Nina.

Susan Willcox, Super-complaints Lead at HMICFRS