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Stop and search 'demeans' black people, says Umunna

DISPROPORTIONATE: Chuka Umunna said it was absurd for any police chief to claim there was no racial dimension to stop and search

STOP AND search is too often used to “demean” and “humiliate” black people, Labour MP Chuka Umunna had said.

The MP for Streatham responded to the home secretary’s plans to give more powers to police in a five-part Twitter thread.

He said: “Lambeth, which I represent, has one of the highest rates of stop and search in the country. Stop and search has its place but too often is used in a way which demeans and humiliates young black people in particular.

“As I said last month, at the heart of a progressive approach to law and order should be the concept of mutual obligation between society and the individual, and we must observe the golden rule: do not do to others what you would not want done to yourself.”

Sajid Javid wants to extend the police’s stop and search powers.

His proposals will enable officers to stop those they suspect of carrying acid without any evidence and those who have laser pointers of drones in their possession.

Changes to the police’s stop and search powers will have to be passed by parliament.

Umunna said: “The golden rule – that you do not do to others what you would not want done to yourself – dictates that stop and search be intelligence led, and is carried out in a way which respects and does not degrade the person subjected to it. This is vital.”

The former shadow business secretary refuted claims that race does not play a part in the rate of black people stopped and searched by police.

He said: “It is absurd for any police chief to claim there is not a racial dimension to stop and search given the disparities. We cannot duck but must confront these facts. To acknowledge the racial dimension is not to argue for stop and search to be done away with.”

Umunna said that the use of body cameras have had a positive impact.

“The biggest factor improving the use of stop and search powers in London is the use of body worn cameras by the police - which we campaigned for in Lambeth. This has led to a big improvement in police interactions and a big fall in the complaints on how it’s carried out,” he said.

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