Has Stop and search become too excessive


‘Stop and Frisk’ May Be Working But Is It Racist”?

Home Secretary Theresa May, unveiled a series of measures which will scale back the way police can stop and search suspects. Tougher thresholds will mean officers in England and Wales are able to use the most controversial form of stop and search powers much less frequently.

In April Theresa May said use of stop and search had become an “unacceptable affront to justice” after Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary found that 27 per cent of searches did not contain reasonable grounds for suspicion. It meant more than 250,000 of the one million searches conducted last year could have been illegal, fuelling concerns that stop and search is used disproportionately against black and Asian people.

Mrs May said: “Nobody wins when stop and search is misused. It can be an enormous waste of police time and damage the relationship between the public and police.”
All 43 forces in England and Wales have signed up to the voluntary scheme and 24 forces will implement two key aspects immediately.

Firstly, the agreement restricts the controversial “no suspicion” powers, which allow officers to stop and search members of the public even when they do not suspect a crime has been committed.

A chief police officer must now believe it is “necessary” to authorise use of the so-called Section 60 powers because violence “will” take place.

Previously, use of the powers could be authorised by a much more junior officer when it was “expedient” to do so because they believed violence “may” occur – a much lower test.

In addition, the powers will now only be available for an initial 15 hours rather than the 24 hours allowed previously. In the second measure forces will have to record the outcome of searches in more detail.

Officers who carry out a stop and search will have to make a note of the outcome such as whether it led to an arrest, a caution or no further action.

Stop-and-searchRecently on UK social media there seemed to be a sudden influx of comments on Stop and Search people from all walks of life participated intriguingly there as always will be trolls who gives a one sided argument and never gives other a chance to answer the important question. I’m very clear of Stop and Search there are people who are discontent with being stop and search and the use of it being disproportionately used in certain communities. One was to ask themselves the question does the area has a medium, high, or low levels of crime in the area after all the police are just doing their job and in some cases acting on information that they have received and sometimes they get it wrong the police are only human and likewise are likely to make mistakes like all of us. I concur that at times that Stop and Search can be a deterrent and should be use proportionality in all communities

 A Stop and Search (either PACE s.1 or MDA s.23) is always recorded, in both the officer’s PNB and on a C12/C12a. Stop and account is also recorded in the same manner, with a copy of the record given to the person in question (you might be surprised to learn that many people refuse to accept it – we cannot force them to accept it, but in those circumstances, we annotate to that effect and keep the copy in our filing drawer accordingly). Stop and search of a vehicle is also recorded in the same manner. When a person is stopped, we are not permitted to ask then closed or certain questions relating to a specific offence; this would constitute an interview and a person would then become a suspect, at which point they are afforded additional rights. But during stop/accounts or stop/searches, we are able to ascertain the following:

What you are doing?

Where have you been?

Where you are going?

What you are carrying?

Further to the above, the carbonated C12 booklets that we carry are not serialised, so a further level of recording is required. Either using MDT (a portable laptop in the vehicle) or back at the Station we will update the incident with an additional reference number, which is obtained from our Crime Recording Office (this name is misleading; they are responsible for a whole host of criminal records responsibilities, part of which includes recording searches). The reference number (much like an incident number) has no bearing or relevance to crime; a search is not recorded as a crime, as I have said. A search may lead to a crime being recorded (i.e. stolen articles or drugs, etc. were found during the search) at which point another number relevant to the investigation would be created.

Here is an example shown how Stop and Search is worked:

All UK Forces post details online about the Stop and Search policy, including your rights during and after. This one is for South Yorkshire Police:
http://www.southyorks.police.uk/content/stop-and-search

Intriguingly in the United States A US Federal Judge found that stop-and-search tactics used by the New York Police Department have violated the constitutional rights of tens of thousands of citizens and are racist, and called for a federal monitor to oversee reforms to the policy.

Judge Shira A. Scheindlin ruled that police officers have been systematically stopping innocent people in the street without any objective evidence that they had been committing an offence. Cops usually searched young black and Latino men for weapons or drugs before letting them go.

The ruling follows a more-than-two-month non-jury trial. The 195 page decision found that in 88 percent of ‘stop and frisks’ the police ended up letting the person go without an arrest or a ticket.

The judge said this percentage was so high it suggested there was no credible reason to suspect someone of criminality in the first place.

She found that the stop-and-frisk-episodes had demonstrated a widespread disregard for the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government, and also violated the 14th Amendment, which addresses citizens’ equal rights and protection under the law, regardless of their race or ethnicity.

Scheindlin also ruled that she would designate an outside lawyer, Peter L. Zimroth, a former corporate counsel and prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office, to monitor the NYPD’s compliance with the Constitution.  This will leave the New York police under a degree of judicial control that will doubtless shape policing policies under the next mayor.

“Far too many people in New York city have been deprived of this basic freedom far too often. The NYPD’s practice of making stops that lack individualized reasonable suspicion has been so pervasive and persistent as to become not only part of the NYPD standard operating procedure, but a fact of daily life in some New York City neighborhoods,” she said.

She added that the plaintiffs who had instigated the case “readily established that the NYPD implements its policies regarding stop and frisk in a manner that intentionally discriminates based on race.”

The stop-and-frisk incidents are part of incumbent Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s tough crime-fighting legacy, and although the number of people searched has soared over the last decade, crime has continued to fall since the 1990s.

Scheindlin heard evidence from a dozen black, Latino or biracial people who had been stopped by police as well as from statistical experts who had examined police paper work detailing some 4.43 million stops between 2004 and the middle of 2012. A number of police officers and commanders also gave evidence; typically they defended their own actions saying they only made the stops when they thought criminal activity was occurring.

The judge found that the New York police had overstepped their authority to briefly stop and investigate people who are behaving suspiciously and that in effect they were watering down the legal minimum standard required to stop someone.

Legal experts said that this was the largest and broadest-sweeping case against the US’s largest police force, and that this ruling may have an effect on how other police departments conduct street stops.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced that he will appeal Judge Scheindlin’s ruling

 

 

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