AVON and Somerset Police have signed up to the voluntary Best Use of Stop and Search scheme which aims to combat misuse of the stop and search power.

It is hoped that the scheme will reduce the number of people being stopped and searched for no good reason which damages the relationship between police and the public. It will also provide the public with further information on the outcome of searches.

Home secretary, Theresa May, announced that every police force in England and Wales has signed up to the scheme.

She said: “I am delighted Avon and Somerset Police have committed to reforming their use of stop and search by volunteering for the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme.

“It will increase transparency, give us a better understanding of how stop and search is actually being used and help local communities hold the police to account for their use of the powers.”

Temporary assistant chief constable, Nikki Watson, Avon and Somerset Local Policing Lead, said: “Stop and Search is an important power that we use to keep our communities safe and feeling safe.

“We are committed to ensuring stop and search is used correctly, fairly and proportionately by our officers, and that the reason for its use is communicated properly to the person who is stopped.”

Avon and Somerset police and crime commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “When stop and search is not used properly it can leave people less assured about policing as well as damage wider community confidence.

“I hope the launch of the Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme will not only make stop and search more effective and transparent, but continue to assure local communities that powers are being used appropriately and fairly.”

Stop and search data will now be available on data.police.uk.