A report into the way that police conduct stop-and-searches has found that the practices are not seen as a priority by officers, therefore allowing more unlawful searches to take place.
The report suggested that in 27% of searches, the officer could not provide a justification or reason as to why the search took place. It also found that in cases where an officer was expecting to find certain items, it was not recorded whether the offending item was actually found or not.
Or in other words, the officer gave a false reason for searching somebody and didn’t want to record the unfruitful outcome.
Reasonable grounds for a stop-and-search include looking for weapons or drugs, the suspect’s behaviour, or if they match the description of someone the police are looking for.
But what if the police quickly make up excuses just because you look suspicious to them?
With nine percent of the one million stop-and-searches resulting in an arrest, I’d say that police coming up with excuses is way more common than it may seem.
It was also found that half of the police forces did not comply with stop-and-search codes; as well as not understanding the impact that these procedures may have on communities.
Stephen Otter, HM Inspector of Constabulary said:
It’s a search for something. You can’t just stop and search someone because they look a bit dodgy.
He went on to suggest that the report proved that “not enough care” was being given to the individual’s encounter, calling stop-and search procedures “intrusive” as people are required to empty their pockets and remove clothing in some cases.
In a separate public opinion survey, 40% of those who had been searched by police stated that they didn’t understand why they had been searched with nearly half feeling like they hadn’t been treated with respect.
I bet it’s hard to feel respected when felt up by a police officer for no apparent reason.
Have you ever been stopped-and-searched? Were you given a reason? How did the encounter make you feel?
As always, let us know in the comments below.