A STOURBRIDGE teenager is holding police to account over their use of stop and search powers.
Alexander Kendall, aged 19, is heading a new group set up by Dudley police to scrutinise their use of the crime fighting tactic, which has seen 2,286 people across the borough stopped and searched between April 2013 and March this year.
The 22-strong group, made up of local people, meet regularly with senior officers at Brierley Hill police station to review each stop and search report to ensure officers are using the power fairly.
Alexander, a student at King Edward VI College, said: "Stop and search and the issues surrounding it are very important to the local community.
"I am very happy to be working with the police as part of Dudley’s stop and search scrutiny panel to try to advise and implement change to policies and procedures, which will in turn be beneficial to local people."
He continued: "I chose to get involved with the scrutiny panel as I someday hope to become a police officer myself and believe that all police officers should have a deep understanding of the people in their community, their concerns, opinions and should be able to work with these people to make them feel safe in their homes and on their streets."
Chief Inspector Nick Rowe, who set up the group, added: "Stop and search powers are a vital tool in protecting people and reducing crime. Every year many offenders are identified as a result of stop and search and others are persuaded not to commit illegal acts as a result of them knowing that they risk being caught.
"As chair of the new group, Alexander will play a vital role in ensuring local people have confidence in or use of the power."
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Bob Jones, said: "The stop and search scrutiny panels, which are up and running in each local policing unit, are an important part of how I’m working with the force to improve the use and oversight of stop and search powers.
"I wish Alexander well in his new role, and look forward to hopefully discussing stop and search with him when I host a meeting with representatives from all the stop and search scrutiny panels later this year."