Author Topic: Misuse of stop and search powers risks undermining police, says watchdog  (Read 465 times)

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Offline EC

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Via the Guardian:

The misuse of "intrusive and contentious" stop and search powers is threatening to undermine the legitimacy of the police, an official watchdog has warned.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) says that most (30) of the 43 forces in England and Wales do not understand how to use stop and search powers effectively nor the impact their use has on the communities being policed.

The official report also says that the priority given by senior police officers to improving the use of stop and search powers has slipped down the agenda since the publication in 1999 of the official inquiry report into the racist murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence. Home Office figures show that black people are still seven times more likely to be searched on the street than white people.

The HMIC report, published on Tuesday, was commissioned by the home secretary, Theresa May, in response to renewed concern about the way the police use stop and search powers in the wake of the 2011 August riots.

The home secretary anticipated one of the report's key findings last week when she launched a six-week consultation over the future use of the powers, saying the fact that only 9% of the 1.2m stop-and-searches that take place every year led to an arrest had caused her to question whether it was being used appropriately.

The HMIC inquiry, which included a public survey of 19,000 people, found that too many forces are not collecting sufficient information to assess whether the use of the powers has been effective.

It says that 27% of the 8,783 stop-and-search records examined by HMIC did not include sufficient grounds to justify the lawful use of the powers.

"The reasons for this include poor understanding among officers about what constitutes 'reasonable grounds' needed to justify a search, poor supervision, and an absence of direction and oversight by senior officers," says the report.

More at link.

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« Last Edit: July 09, 2013, 03:17:39 AM by EC »
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