The police have a number of powers of stop and search. When using any power they must always have regards to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) codes of practice. ” The effectiveness of the police stop and search procedures being used as a valuable tool in the detection of crime can be measured by looking at the role that stop and searches play in policing and the arrests they lead to. However their impact on the community and the negative image it has given the police force outweigh the results generated from stop and searches.
It has been found through arioso reports such as one by The Equality and Human Rights Commission, arrests for serious offenses are less likely to follow from stop and searches however they do play some role In preventing crime. Although statistics show the Impact Is small. There are still concerns about the impact that stop and searches have had upon certain sections of the community. These are normally due to officer’s Interactions with the public, such as the disproportionate amount of ethnic minorities that are detained under a stop and search. Since the Police and Criminal Evidence bill 1982 was proposed there has been huge controversy.
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When the It was enacted as the 1984 Police and Criminal Evidence Act It was described as the most significant landmark In the modern development of police powers” Chief Constable of Impressive, Kenneth Oxford and former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir David Emcee both shared similar views and felt that the new act would “go against the interests of the law abiding citizen and an effective police service. ” There were also those that felt the new extension of police powers underlined In the act would “Para militaries the police” . Nearly 30 years later there is no conclusive evidence that either of these outcomes have happened.
A stop Is defined as when a police officer stops a member of the public but does not search them. A search is defined as when a police officer stops a member of the public and searches them. The police have to meet certain conditions before there can detain a person and carry out a search. In 2010/2011 there were 1,222,378 stops made by police under section 1 of the PACE 1984 in England and Wales this lead to a total of 113,676 arrests in England and Wales for the same year. Stop and Searches have a small effect on overall crime and a more highlighted role although soul very small In crimes which come to the attention of the Alice.
They do, however make a more important contribution to police arrests for crimes susceptible to detection by searches. It is evident that stop and search is most effective as a tool when being used to detect crimes such as handling stolen property or theft and possession of drugs. A study In 2001 of the effectiveness of stop and search estimated that searches reduced the number of ‘delectable’ crimes by lust 0. 2 per cent. These again are very low figures especially considering the amount of police tine and physical resource required to carry out stop and searches.
Research shows that searches are more likely to be effective when they are based on intelligence, and targeted against current, active offenders. Under section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 an officer with rank of at least inspector is able to apply a stop and search zone or area depending on the crime. These only resulted In 2% of suspects stopped In England and Wales were arrested. The low and search. There is no correlation between the stop and searches leading to convictions for more serious offences.
Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 refers to stop and search. Seventy nine out of all section 44 searches in 2010/11 resulted in arrests. Showing that stop and searches had even less of an impact on disrupting crimes of a more serious nature. There is evidence that stop and searches lead to the opportunity to gather intelligence but none to link this intelligence to any further arrests or conviction or detection of crimes. Cases R v Park (1994) where procedures laid down in the PACE Act were not followed properly and evidence could not be submitted.
Also R v Finley  in which the defendant had not been informed properly of the reason for stop and search can lead to suspects being unable to be respected. It is hard to Justify these results and describe the use of stop and searches as a valuable tool in the detection of crime. Especially when there is a large amount of evidence from reports, cases and statistical information showing the disproportionate amount of Black and Asian individuals that are stopped and searched under section 1 of PACE 1984. This has led to issues arising between the police and the community.
Before the introduction of PACE 1984… ‘us’ laws were found to be used disproportionately towards black people. They were repealed in 1981 and after a rise of riots across the country between 1980 – 1981, the Cascara report and the Royal Commission on Police procedures recommended a complete overhaul of the police. These recommendations led to the creation of the PACE Act 1984. As a result of the Mac Person Report it was recommended that all stops be recorded. This recording of stops has shown statistically that if you are black you are 6 times more likely to be stopped and searched.
On 7 March 2011 the requirements for the police on how they record stop and search were changed, this reduced the number of items recorded during a stop and search from 12 to 7. The seven items are: Ethnicity, objective of search, grounds for search, identity of the officer carrying out the stop and search, date, time and place. Groups such as the Stop and Search Action Team have been tasked with looking into the current situation concerning the evident discrimination within the police force when using stop and search powers.
Section 1 of PACE states “Powers to stop and search must be used fairly, responsibly, with respect for people being searched and without unlawful discrimination. The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful for police officers to discriminate against, harass or activism any person on the grounds of the ‘protected characteristics’ of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity when using their powers. Research also shows that the public generally support the power, as long as it is used properly and focused on real crime and real offenders. The Black and Asian community are most affected by any discrimination surrounding stop and search and feel that officers are impolite and discourteous towards them and abuse the stop and search powers. This has led to a feeling of resentment towards the police force and according to a Joint study by the Guardian and the London School of Economics the resentment played a big part in the London riots of 2011.