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UK group comments on police stop and search practice

Published:Wednesday | July 10, 2013 | 9:54 AM

A report out of the UK has indicated that more than one in four stop and searches conducted by the police are unlawful and could spark future riots.

According to a study by police watchdog group Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, 30 of the 43 forces in England and Wales do not understand how to use stop and search powers effectively nor the impact their use has on the communities being policed.

The report comes amid recent debate in Jamaica regarding random stop and searches by the Constabulary Force.

The debate was triggered by a court ruling last month by a Supreme Court judge that the police have no power, under the Road Traffic Act, to arbitrarily stop and search motor vehicles.

A major study by the watchdog group states that misuse of the controversial tactic is threatening the legitimacy of the police and could cause major disorder in the long term.

Inspectors found 27 per cent of cases examined did not have reasonable grounds to lawfully justify the stop.

The study also found while police still focus on whether stops are disproportionately used against some groups no attention is given to whether they are effective in cutting crime.

Last week Home Secretary Theresa May, ordered a review of the powers after warning they are being overused and waste police time.

The Inspectorate is to inspect all 43 forces again within the next 18 months to check if improvements have been made.


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