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Stop and search review plan welcomed

CHANGE: Stop and search review plan welcomed

NEWS THAT Home Secretary Theresa May plans to review police use of stop and search has been welcomed by a panel of experts.

Last week (December 14), May told the Reading the Riots conference held at the London School of Economics that she had made a request to the Association of Chief Police Officers for a national review on how police use the tactic across the country.

May told the conference delegates that although stop and search was important, it needed to be re-evaluated.

“I strongly believe that stop and search should be used proportionately, without prejudice, and with the support of local communities… and I have asked the Association of Chief Police Officers to look at best practice on stop and search.”

Responding to the announcement, The Independent Riots Communities and Victims Panel, set up to examine the causes of the August 2011 riots told The Voice that it was a positive step.

Rhona de la Mar, a communications adviser at the panel said: “We are very pleased that the Home Secretary has asked the Association of Chief Police Officers to review best practice on stop and search, which was a recommendation in our interim report."

"We spoke to communities about stop and search on our visits to 17 areas affected by the August riots, and three areas that were not. We discovered that if stop and search is not conducted correctly and with courtesy there is a risk that widespread support for it in communities will be eroded.”

De la Mar said that many of the people the panel interviewed felt it was important for authorities to re-establish a relationship with members of the public.

“This was not an issue simply raised by rioters. Individuals, young and old and from all backgrounds told us it must be addressed to improve relationships between the public and the police.”

Research conducted for The Reading the Riots conference found that a key reason for the riots was anger at police – 86 percent of rioters blamed heavy handed policing for the disturbances.

However, May said that the riots were about “instant gratification”.

“The riots weren’t about protests, unemployment, cuts. The riots were not about the future, about tomorrow. They were about today. They were about now. They were about instant gratification.”

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