Police law was ‘ a mess’ in his

Police powers to stop and search individuals in public remain amongst the most contentious aspects of British policing (Delsol and Shiner 2015). Stop and Search has always been a controversial topic (Bradford 2017) and has existed since before a professional police service came to begin (Waddington 2004). It has been suggested that Liberal Democracies are less focussed on the majority ‘the public’ and generally focussed towards protecting the vulnerable minorities (Reiner 2010). With taxpayers money (Donnelly 2013) and seeking to protect the rights of the majority ‘the public’ (Greave 2014), stop and search is an action taken to help detect and prevent crime (Bradford 2017). The police at times may infringe certain individual rights, such as the right to privacy or to freedom of movement (Equality and Human Rights Commission). Although, the police are only permitted to do so if the infringement is rational, proportionate and lawful (Webber, Fishwick, Marmo 2014). The exercise of the police’s powers of a stop and search are governed by the Code PACE (Ozin, Norton, Spivey 2006). When a particular crime is occurring continuously in a specific area where the description of suspects is always the same, officers may have enough grounds to conduct a stop and search to help detect drugs/knives which then prevent knife crime and drug dealing (Zander 2013). However, critics say the practice is considered controversial because of who tends to be targeted and its perceptions of “unfairness”‘ (Harbone, Dorotinsky and Bisca 2017). Despite the code PACE being introduced in 1984 (Dobson and Dobson 2017) after Lord Scarman said that the law was ‘ a mess’ in his inquiry after the Brixton Riots (Scarman 1981) the Police have still managed to come under much criticism in Parliament (House of Commons: Home Affairs Committee 2009) described the use of stop and search as being not a sensible use of police time.In July 2017 The Guardian newspaper published “Angry protesters challenge police over death of Rashan Charles” who died after a police chase. The Guardian states one hundred and fifty protesters with placards bearing the words “Black Lives Matter” brought Kingsland High Street in East London to a standstill. It could be suggested nothing could be more damaging to the relationship between the police and the black community than cases like Charles. It is hardly surprising that those on the receiving end of such treatment should develop hostile attitudes towards the police (Bowling and Phillips 2007). Charles’s death was followed by the police commissioner Cressida Rose Dick, CBE defending the use of the stop and search. On 8th August 2017 The Guardian Newspaper also published “Met police chief says more stop and search may help reduce knife crime.” The police commissioner Cressida Rose Dick, CBE defended the use of stop and search in tackling knife crime. North London Tottenham Labour MP David Lammy (2017) heavily criticises the use of the stop and search and says the use of stop and search “drains trust in our justice system.” It can be argued that until someone such as Lammy protesting against the use of stop and search legislations has a crime committed against them, they’ll never understand the true value of a Stop and Search as a source of crime control. Official statistics taken from Government show that the police carry out a high number of stops and searches but on average only circa 10% or there about (ie the percentage in the last column) result in an actual arrest. From looking at the statistics it can be argued that approximately 90% of the time carrying out a stop and search was unnecessary and unwarranted to stop and search, and as the results show if a stop and search is ineffective in preventing crime then its disproportionate use against black people might well be something that needs to be further addressed.The results table can also be used to justify the use of the stop and searches as it allows the police to conduct searches in drug hotspots or to people who are known to carry drugs or weapons (Bradford 2017). As stated by Zander (2013) the use of the stop and search can also be seen as beneficial even if it is a low percentage as it takes the criminal off of the street and/or unsettles him/her.The statistics in the Government table may be accurate. However they can also be seen as being slightly misleading because figures are not broken down enough and the reader is unable to see if the figures from ‘high spot’ areas tell a different story to previously told. The only figures worth comparing would be those from high-crime areas.It can be argued as long as police remain visible in streets less stop searches would be needed as people are less likely to commit crime in front of Police Officers (Heitmeyer and Hagan 2005). On the other hand according to Hill, Pollett and Nettle (2014) they believe little is known about whether increased police presence influences people’s beliefs about a neighbourhood’s social environment or their fear of crime. In the mid 1970’s to the 1990s, ‘bobbies on the beat’ were replaced with vehicle patrols (Leith and Hoey 2012) Despite an increase of 15,000 between 2000 and March 2004 to reach a record level of 138,000, people remained convinced that there were fewer visible police officers on the streets deterring criminals (politics.co.uk, 2018).The BBC News (2017) published an article on a new method of catching wanted criminals by Yorkshire Police called ‘operation Holly.’ The Yorkshire Police Force set up a fake company for wanted persons for arrest, they told those wanted for arrest they had been specially selected to receive a Christmas hamper and that  in order to receive it they were required to book a delivery slot time with the fake company, however when the ‘hamper’ they believed would be arriving knocked on the door they were actually met by officers. The operation resulted in 21 arrests. Although the article does not state how many people they tried to arrest or include the time and money spent setting up the fake company. Weak legislations in the UK (Tushnet 2009) and fear of offending the minority (Linsell, 2005) prevents Police officers carrying out stop and searches. Weak Criminal UK laws and not punishing criminals, continuous bad police press, cuts in the number of police on the streets goes in favour of the offended minority and not the majority. It can also be argued that the police should be allowed to continue to carry out Stop and Searches as police routine work for crime control and that the stop and search is done in everyone’s best interest (Parliament. House of Lords 2006). It can be argued that it can be done without further changes in the PACE code of practice because if they are further restricted in their duties in anyway people could literally be questioned every time one is carried out, and sadly in current times of terror (Combs and Slann 2009) not everyone involved in a routine stop and search will feel it justified (Jackson 2016), therefore resulting in the police then becoming undermined and their authority over ruled by the criminals, resulting in the police being unable to protect and support the majority of the public and the public’s ability to live free from violence, crime and fear. It can also be suggested that Stop and Search alone as a preventative tool is not enough to combat crime, and that the police could incorporate Stop and Searches with other methods and explore new avenues of trying to prevent crime from occurring. However, it would be unreasonable to think and to have expectations of the police being ‘flawless’ in their duties. Whilst some communities believe the stop and search method is biased and prejudiced towards their community (Lammy, 2017) it is also worth noting that the Metropolitan Police set up the Trident Department in 1998 specifically to target Gun Crime in the Afro Caribbean communities after several shootings in South London (Bloom 2012), furthermore the police could equally be accused of other types of discrimination such as ageism or sexism (Ainsworth 2012), since young men are stopped most because they are responsible for the overwhelming majority of street crime. When they grow up, and (if) they get a job and wear a suit rather than a hoodie, it could be argued that they are less likely to be stopped and searched. It would also be impossible not to infringe on another person’s right to privacy or to freedom of movement and association whilst trying to protect the right of life, the ultimate human right of the general public ( www.equalityhumanrights.com, 2017) – the majority.


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