The futility of stop and search

Lord Carlile’s annual independent review of anti-terror laws has sharply critisced the use of ‘stop and search powers’ by the police. From the BBC: the strongest criticisms Lord Carlile has ever made of the use of the powers, the peer said that none of the stops in London or elsewhere had led to a conviction.

Page 39 of his report goes on to say:

It should be emphasised that photography of the police by the media or amateurs remains as legitimate as before, unless the photograph is likely to be of use to a terrorist. This is a high bar. It is inexcusable for police officers ever to use this provision to interfere with the rights of individuals to take photographs.

Attempts to use the Freedom of Information Act to determine how many of the 42000 stops made each month involve photographers have so far been unsuccessful. See this article in AP and the FOI request made via WhatDoTheyKnow here, here, and here.

There are also suggestions that many of the searches are made simply to “produce a racial balance in the statistics”. So the harassment meted out under section 44 is pointless, ineffectual, and racial motivated. Delightful!

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