England and Wales Stop and Search Consultation – Let the Government know what you think!

England and Wales Stop and Search Consultation – Let the Government know what you think!

By Dark Politricks

The UK government is holding an open consultation with the public over their thoughts on the controversial stop and search powers that are used (and abused) by the Police.

As anyone who knows stop and search can be a humiliating experience. You are prevented from going along your way, frisked and even strip searched (as I have in a pub toilet) and basically treated like a criminal even if you haven’t done anything wrong.

Anyone who knows the statistics of stop and search realises that the most likely people to be stopped are black young males, or people of colour and youths.

“But they commit the crime” you might say, and you might be right in that some statistical studies show that in poorer neighbourhoods the majority of criminals fit those profiles.

However it is more likely that wealth and social factors are to play when it comes down to whether or not someone is a criminal and as the recent banking crisis shows, if you are a super rich, high flying, banker who robs billions from the country then you are not even likely to be convicted let alone stopped or searched!

Therefore if you are an uneducated poor working class male, coloured or not, you are more likely to live in areas of high crime, be drawn into gang culture or just stopped by the police due to your postcode.

A recent article in the Guardian has this to say when the current Home Secretary spoke at the Police Superintendents’ Association of England and Wales.

Theresa May has warned the police that improper use of their stop-and-search powers can cause immense resentment and undermine public co-operation.

The home secretary said: “I do not have to tell you how important it is that public confidence in the police is maintained. And it simply cannot be maintained if people think that senior police officers are lacking in integrity or behaving in a self-serving way – or if, on the street, your constables are being rude and disrespectful to the public.”

Her speech, to the Police Superintendents’ Association of England and Wales conference, marks May’s strongest language yet in her campaign to scale back the “waste of time” involved in the 1.2m searches carried out by the police on the street every year. She has said that the resulting arrest rate, which can be as little as 3% in some areas, is “far too low for comfort”.

But, significantly, the home secretary also praised the police for their capacity to deliver despite having suffered a 20% cut in their Whitehall funding. She even called them “the model public service”, in sharp contrast to her previous description of them as “the last unreformed public service”.

“You have cut crime with fewer officers and lower budgets,” May said. “You are doing more with less. That makes you the model public service in the era of budget cuts.”

The home secretary told the superintendents that stop and search could be an invaluable tool for reducing crime, particularly knife crime; if used properly and fairly, the tactic worked very effectively.

She added, however: “But the caveat is vital: it works if it is used properly and fairly. Stop and search has the potential to cause immense resentment and honesty to the police, with all the implications that has for generating distrust and ending co-operation from the public, if it is not used fairly.”

You can let the Government know what you think about the stop and search powers the police currently have and how they could be changed in a public consultation they are having at www.gov.uk. Currently the Police must have reasonable suspicion that you have or are about to commit a crime before stopping you or that you are carrying weapons or drugs. As the government consultation page says.

This consultation seeks views on the police powers of stop and search, specifically under the following legislation:

  • section 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE)
  • section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971
  • section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994

It concerns those powers used in relation to street crime, burglary, antisocial behaviour, and public order offences such as riots and violent protests.

The aim of the consultation is to understand how the public and those involved in policing view the use of these powers. Stop and search powers under counter-terrorism legislation have been the subject of recent changes and are not within the scope of this consultation.

You can read the full documentation by downloading the following relevant link.

Consultation on police powers of stop and search

Consultation on police powers of stop and search: Welsh version
The consultation period has been extended and now runs until 24 September 2013. So we have more time to let the police and the UK government know that we want the Labour police state rolled back as much as possible and that anti-terrorism laws shouldn’t be abused by stopping tourists taking photos or other spurious reasons for detaining people.
How to respond
You can send your comments using the governments online form.Or you can email your response to: Stopandsearch@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Or if you’re still stuck in the paper and stamp era, write to:

Stop and search consultation
Home Office
Police Transparency Unit
6th Floor Fry Building
2 Marsham Street
London, SW1P 4DF

View the UK Governments consultation page at www.gov.uk.

 

View the original article on my main site www.darkpolitricks.com

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