The Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice has published a new report on Stop and Search in Scotland. One of their recommendations is that "non-statutory" stop and search should be phased out, and that stop and search should be underpinned by legislation.
"Non-statutory" stop and searches are those carried out in circumstances where police do not have the legal power to enforce a search, but nevertheless conduct a search based on a claim that they have obtained the agreement of the person concerned. The new report says that:
"Between 2005 and 2010, between 72% and 74% of recorded searches were classed as non-statutory . The overall proportion of non-statutory searches was driven by legacy Strathclyde ( which in 2010, accounted for an 84 % share of recorded searches in Scotland ) . Outwith Strathclyde, rates of non-statutory search varied sharply".
The report also notes that:
"At the time of writing, little is known about the use of stop and search in Scotland. Neither Police Scotland, the Scottish Government nor the Scottish Police Authority routinely publish stop and search statistics , a s such, it is difficult to assess what stop and search looks like, either comparatively across S cot land, or at the national level. It is equally difficult to determine whether search practices a re proportionate in relation to offending levels. Nor do we know if the tactic is effective , either as a means of detection, or as a deterrent."
The Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice is lead by a partnership between Glasgow, Stirling, Edinburgh, and Glasgow Caledonian Universities, working with a wider consortium of individuals and groups in Strathclyde, Aberdeen, Dundee and St Andrew’s Universities.
Read the report (pdf document):
Stop and Search in Scotland: an evaluation of police practice
Photo: Wasi Daniju
Police at a demo against the fascist SDL, Edinburgh, June 2013