Dorset Police has seen an increase in applications for scrutinising the use of stop and search and is calling on more people to apply to help drive forward improvements.

The Stop and Search Public Scrutiny Panels are held every three months.

The most recent panel was held in February and was made up of 21 panel members, led by Independent Chair Rachel Bailey and assisted by Detective Chief Inspector Greg Tansill.

The panel worked in small breakout groups to review 14 stop search encounters and four use of force incidents that took place between November 2023 and January 2024 and involved individuals from an ethnic minority and young people.

Since launching the public scrutiny panels in 2023 to assess how the force is using its stop and search and use of force powers, there has been a sudden increase in public interest and applications.

The panels are designed to help the force make improvements in the way that these powers are used and conducted.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Lyne, of Dorset Police, said: “I am pleased to see an increase in applications, as it indicates that the public are seeing this a useful tool.

"The force introduced this new panel as an additional layer of public scrutiny as part of our equality, diversity and inclusion commitment to ensure we are using our powers fairly and legitimately. 

“This is a perfect opportunity for members of our local communities to review our encounters and discuss openly our good practice, along with how improvements could be made. I would encourage those who believe they can assist, to register their interest today.” 

Chair Rachel Bailey said: “The panel plays a critical role in holding the force to account and scrutinising the use of police powers.

"This is particularly important for communities that are underrepresented and disproportionately affected.

"Community scrutiny and engagement is integral to rebuilding public trust, confidence and community ties, which remains an issue in the current climate.

“The panel must represent the different communities within Dorset, and I am delighted to see an increase in applications. Diverse membership is essential to ensure all communities are represented, and I would encourage anyone with an interest to apply.”

If you would like to join one of the panels email: