17 October 2003 — Police use of stop and search is still failing disproportionately targeting black youth and harming police-community relations.
Today (Friday), the human rights campaigning organisation The 1990 Trust, will issue a call for stop and search to be rapidly improved or scrapped.
The 1990 Trust will be giving evidence to the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) scrutiny panel on stop and search Friday 17 October, 10am, at the MPA offices: 10 Dean Farrar Street, Westminster.
Trust director Karen Chouhan said: “Stop and search remains a blunt instrument to tackle crime with a shockingly low hit rate of arrests and convictions.
“We must see instant improvements to stop and search which still disproportionately applied to black and minority ethnic communities, harming community-police relations in the process.
“We want to see more effective use of stop and search. If police fail to make improvements they should consider scrapping it in favour of other methods of policing.”
Lee Jasper, special advisor to London Mayor Ken Livingstone, said: “Stop and search is a critical issue in relation to building trust and confidence in the police.
“Levels of disproportionality of stop and search have to be reduced. The tactic must be intelligence-led if it is to succeed.
“More importantly the Metropolitan Police have to reflect the diversity of London, which is crucial to tackling disproportionality in stop and search.”
It has been almost five years since the Lawrence inquiry made the recommendation that all stops and searches should be recorded and justified, with a full record being given to the person stopped. This has still not been implemented.
The Trust believe that when police stop and search so many innocent black and minority ethnic people it reinforces the view that they are over-policed as innocent citizens and under-policed as victims of crime.
We believe the police should take note of United Nations concerns and recommendations regarding the use of stop and search in Britain. The UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UNCERD) recommended that section 61 of the Lawrence report be fully introduced, and were concerned over disproportionate stop and searches for black and minority ethnic communities.
KAREN CHOUHAN AND LEE JASPER ARE AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW
THE 1990 TRUST PRESENTATION TO THE MPA PANEL WILL BE AVAILABLE AFTER THE EVIDENCE SESSION IS COMPLETED
For interviews call:
Karen Chouhan on 07903 581 968
Or the 1990 Trust on 020 7582 1990
1. The prevarication on the full implementation of recommendation 61 of the Lawrence inquiry should cease. It should be implemented forthwith.
2. Disproportionality in the use of Stop and Search powers by individual officers should be considered sufficient to instigate disciplinary procedures. ACPO and the Police Advisory Board should amend the police disciplinary code to include disproportionality in Stop and Search figures as a disciplinary offence.
3. Continued monitoring should be detailed enough to pick up on individual officers use of the powers and of the requirements for recording. Individual officers, who consistently use Stop and Search powers with no sound reason or outcome, should be retrained. If it continues disciplinary action should be taken.
4. Monitoring of individual police forces’ Stop and Search figures should continue, and where unwarranted disproportionality in racial terms is found the CRE should investigate. Where sufficient evidence is found, prosecution under the revised provisions of an amended Race Relations Act should follow.
5. If the monitoring demonstrates continued disproportionality and no more effectiveness in detecting crime, Stop and Search should be discontinued. The damage it does to police and community relations seems to outweigh the benefits. This could be tested in a pilot area where Stop and Search is withdrawn for a predetermined period.
6. A more general focus on police and Black community relations should be increased with attention to partnerships and better interaction at a variety of levels.
7. Training of the police should be conducted in civilian organisations. We refer readers back to section 4c of the report A culture of Denial for details.
8. The UK government should respond fully to the UN committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination with regard to stop and search at six monthly intervals.