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Police and crime committee want better stop & search tactics

CHECK: Police question a man in London (PA)

A REPORT by the Police and Crime Committee is calling for a sustained effort to improve the quality and reduce the quantity of stops and searches.

The report praised the Met’s recent success in cutting the number of searches undertaken by a third, while nearly doubling the arrest rate resulting from stops.

But it also raised concerns about the “variable” quality of searches and inconsistent (patchy) record keeping - with stops going unrecorded.

A statement from the committee said: “The Met’s leadership still has some way to go to convince every officer that the intelligence led and respectful use of stop and search is essential to the long-term effectiveness of policing."

It added: “Its use has implications for every Londoner, as poor encounters affect the public’s willingness to talk to the police and cooperate with investigations.”

Jenny Jones, who chaired the Committee’s investigation, said while she welcomes the decline in “heavy handed” searches, she is concerned that 800 people a day are still being searched by the Met with any resulting arrest.

“You have to ask if this is a good use of police time and resources,” she said.

“If those stops are made without good reason, and just as importantly if they are conducted without common courtesy, that’s 800 Londoners, plus their friends and families, with a potential grievance against the police."

Jones added: “The Met cannot afford to alienate another generation of young people by officers’ heavy handed use of their powers. The leadership at Scotland Yard appears to understand that, now they have to convince every one of their officers to put that into practice.”

The report recommendations seek to:

· Secure public confidence in stop and search data by ensuring full and accurate recording and reporting of stop and search.

· Ensure that the Met uses it powers according to the rules through better oversight of stop and search records.

· Help people to understand their rights to empower them to challenge poor practice.

· Support the Met’s efforts to increase the volume of feedback they receive about stop and search by improving public awareness of community monitoring groups.

· Strengthen scrutiny of how the Met uses stop and search by clarifying MOPAC’s role in holding the Met to account.

· Improve officers’ understanding of why the quality of stop and search matters by formally including young people in stop and search training.

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