Who we are
The Haringey Independent Stop & Search Monitoring Group (HISSMG) is a grass roots community organisation, run by volunteers.
HISSMG is totally independent of the police and was set up to provide the local community with a way of passing on their views and experiences on stop and search. Some of our members have been stopped and searched unfairly many times and we want to help stop that happening to other people.
What we do
There is evidence nationally that the police use their powers disproportionately against ethnic minorities, particularly black people. Every month, HISSMG monitors the Haringey stop and search statistics for evidence of this.
Results: Ten years ago four black people were stopped and searched in Haringey, for every one white person – a disproportionality rate of 4:1. As a result of HISSMG dialogue with the police, this has now reduced to 2:1 – one of the best rates in the country. Of course, we would like even more improvements and we will continue to monitor the race statistics every month.
Through continual dialogue on a local level with the Police Borough Commander in Haringey, the council, and Safer Neighbourhood Board, HISSMG helps to ensure that the local police use their stop & search powers fairly, effectively and without discrimination.
The Police are accountable to the Community if they do not adhere to the “Codes of Practice” for stop and search encounters with the public and can be disciplined, and retrained if they do not comply.
Results: HISSMG members regularly monitor police behaviour during stop and search, as well as taking feedback from the community. To help ensure ‘fair engagement’ HISSMG are now involved in the training of new police recruits.
Making the reduction of serious violence a priority
Many people from our local community are concerned about serious violence in the borough, particularly amongst youth. We support the police in using their stop and search powers for this purpose.
However, feedback from members of the community as well as police statistics suggest that stop and search powers are more often used with the aim of finding drugs, rather than weapons. We are currently campaigning for this to change.
Results: Weapons searches – as a proportion of all searches – has improved as a result of HISSMG criticism, but is not yet at the proportions we would like and this is an ongoing dialogue with police
Advice and information
It is important to HISSMG that people in the local community – particularly young people – know their rights in relation to stop and search and also what the grounds for complaint are. To that end:
- We offer advice and information on our website, in leaflets, and to individuals on the phone
- We hold seminars and workshops in schools, colleges, youth clubs, on street hotspots and community centres. Let us know if you’d like members of our team to come and talk to your group.
Complaints about police behaviour
HISSMG have a motto: “Don’t complain, if you don’t complain”! Complaining about poor police behaviour or practice can make a difference. We will support you in making a complaint – whether you want to do this officially, or simply want us to pass on your views and experiences without giving your name.
- We take official Third Party Complaints about Police on your behalf.
- We hold regular meetings in local communities to get people’s personal experiences and views – good and bad.
- We pass on the views of the people of Haringey to senior officers in the Met, British Transport Police and College of Policing, to help improve police practice and relations between the police and the community.
HISSMG are concerned that not enough members of the Public feel comfortable enough to make complaints against the misuse of police powers. We want this to change! Ken Hinds, Chairman of HISSMG made an official complaint against the British Transport Police and won his case and was awarded compensation.
We therefore encourage and support members of the public to stand up for their rights and not to think you are powerless to do anything about it!
To make a complaint, please click on the COMPLAINTS section in the toolbar. (or click here)
HISSMG are involved in campaigning London-wide and nationally to help improve the law, policy and practice in relation to stop and search.
- We regularly meet with other Monitoring groups in London and other interested organisations, to share information and best practice.
- We engage with Law makers, Human Rights Groups and other specialist organisations like ‘Stopwatch’ so that the views of Haringey residents are included in any national campaigns
A reduction in the use of ‘ No’ suspicion law… section 60 law.
Ms Ms Juliette Roberts came to HISSMG in September 2010 for advice and we have continued to provide support to her in anticipation that this case will go to the European court.
With no ‘reasonable suspicion’ required at that time, black people were 23 times more likely to be targeted.
Roberts, a 38-year-old woman of good character who worked locally as a special needs assistant, was handcuffed and restrained on the ground by officers. Unhappy about her treatment and concerned about the damage caused by the police use of stop and search in her community, she sought to challenge the lawfulness of the section 60 power. She argued that when officers are not required to meet an objective threshold such as reasonable suspicion, there is nothing to prevent stop-and-search decisions being made on an arbitrary and discriminatory basis.
As a consequence of our campaigning and her brave action the use of section 60 has been reduced by 99% and yet, according to crime statistics, crime has not increased. The Home Secretary (Theresa May) is now using her case as a bench mark for better policing.
Aims and objectives
- To provide the local Community with up-to-date, relevant and practical information on Stop & Search policies and practices.
- To hold the Haringey Police to account in relation to their Stop & Search Policies, and Codes of Practices
- To provide an arena for the Local Community to discuss and debate how Police Stops impact on them.
- To help reduce the negative impact that Stop & Search encounters have, especially on young men and The British Afro-Caribbean Community (BACC).
- To work within the Community, using the data gathered by HISSMG Surveys, in order to find solutions to reduce conflict between the Local Community and Police.
- To inform the Community of their Rights in relation to stop and search and the duties and responsibilities of the police in relation to ‘fair engagement’.
- To provide an independent and confidential service to the Community if they feel they have been treated unfairly by a Police Officer.
- To improve trust and confidence between the Local Community and the Police generally.
- How you can help
- By joining our Group – we need many more members to participate in our work, particularly young people.
- By volunteering your time and expertise.
- By making a donation or sponsoring our work in the local/ wider community, education establishments and youth centres.