Stop and Search laws

1 02 2008

New Powers for police to stop and search

Plans to extend police powers to stop and search people with minimal bureaucracy are to be announced by Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, next week.

Smith will allow police forces to designate hotspot zones within their areas where officers would be able to carry out searches, backed up only by a brief voice-recording of explanation.

The plans were taken to cabinet yesterday after she received the final report from a review of policing by Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the chief inspector of constabulary. Source

Yesterday, I saw more than a dozen police officers at a very small overground station in what may qualify as central London. They were simply carrying out their job by randomly stopping people. While I swiped the oyster, crossing the barriers I saw several people of various backgrounds being searched and questioned including a smartly dressed elderly man. The first thing which came to my mind was Police state, a tiny station with over a dozen police officers, some with dogs stopping random people including senior members of community..what would you think?

Personally, I have no problem with stop and search. I don’t carry around things I shouldn’t have and something needs to be done about the growing knife crime in the UK. If a shooting or stabbing takes place I would hope everyone in the area would be liable to be stopped and searched to send out a strong message to the criminals. Although, I do sympathies with those who are against ID cards, stops and searches etc, but what are the alternatives? Besides, stop and search happens anyway, I have been stopped and searched for no reason whatsoever under section 44 of the terrorism act, so these really make no difference to me.

However, I would also like to see the Met Police reassure ethnic minorities that they have rid the police force of the racist ideology and officers willing to abuse their powers with impunity, then there shouldn’t be any concerns. I know the feeling, which I am afraid most people will not understand unless you have been stopped, abused and have had insults hurled at you while you were going about your daily routine. Perhaps, there needs to be a mechanism of stop and search within the Met Police to churn out ignorance or implement plans to educate the police staff on religious/cultural sensitivities, basic manners and some level of public relation skills, before they begin to stop and search criminals as well as the law abiding citizens.

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