South Wales Police is the busiest force in Wales. It provides a policing service to 1.3 million people – 42% of the Welsh population – and managing around 43% of the total crime in Wales.
Due to the nature of their work, police officers are occasionally confronted with a set of circumstances where using stop search powers and force is appropriate. Using these powers legitimately can prevent more serious incidents or harm to the public and the subject. It is important to note that the vast majority of force used in South Wales involves verbal tactical communication and handcuffing of people being arrested.
Our officers face difficult situations every day.
Thankfully, only a small percentage of these situations will result in the officer having to use force, be it to protect the public, maintain order or keep themselves from harm.
They are extensively trained to use this force proportionately, lawfully and only when it's absolutely necessary.
The types of force that police may use can include:
*Taser and firearms use can include when it has been aimed, but not discharged.
South Wales Police's use of force January to March 2022
A police officer or a police community support officer (PCSO) in uniform can stop you but only police officers can search you. A police officer does not have to be in uniform but they must show you their warrant (ID) card. They can search you, anything you are carrying and a vehicle.
You may encounter different types of stops, to find these out and learn more about what will happen, click here.
There is a robust and comprehensive internal scrutiny of the Use of Force and Stop and Search within South Wales Police. This includes working closely with stakeholders, including community cohesion groups, to ensure we are as open and transparent as possible about the methods of our policing.
External scrutiny is welcomed through the use of the Force Independent Advisory Group (IAG) and by members of the Police and Crime Commissioner's Police Accountability and Legitimacy Group (PALG). These groups review body-worn video footage of Stop and Search and instances where force has been used on at least a quarterly basis. Feedback from these sessions is collated and acted upon to improve our standards and ensure our policing is fair and ethical.
South Wales Police Independent Advisory Group (IAG)
The Force Independent Advisory Group is made up of 28 residents from across South Wales. These members have a key role in increasing the public’s trust and confidence in the police. The IAG are independent of the police but act as ‘critical friends’ to help challenge conventional thinking within the Force, giving an independent perspective on current issues and future thinking.
IAGs work as genuine partners with the Police to inform improvements in service delivery, with a particular focus on diversity and the protected characteristics. All nine protected characteristics are represented through our current IAG in both personal and professional capacities.
IAG members volunteer their time to ensure that a quality service is delivered by the Force. They are supported by members of the force Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Team.
Owing to the confidential nature of the work they engage with all IAG members are security vetted.
Police and Crime Commissioner's Police Accountability and Legitimacy Group (PALG)
The Police Accountability and Legitimacy Group was established by the Commissioner's team and enables external organisations and independent advisers to act as critical friends to South Wales Police, supporting the Police & Crime Commissioner in his scrutiny role, and ensuring that South Wales Police is accountable and transparent.