Carole F. Willis
This report evaluates recommendations from research into British police stop and search procedures.
A review of police stops and searches followed the report of an inquiry into the death of Stephen Lawrence. That report highlighted minority ethnic communities' lack of trust and confidence in the use of stops and searches and recommended that the police should make a record of all stops and all searches of the public. This report evaluates the results of a national pilot of the recommendation. The evaluation draws on interviews with police officers, extended observation of police patrol, public views and police statistics of recorded stops and searches. There was significant under-reporting of stops, which places in doubt the accuracy of police statistics. The level of under-reporting was due, in part, to the difficulty of precisely defining a police stop. Still, some officers were recording selectively. The report describes five recommendations from the original study, most revolving around the suggestion that police make a record of all stops and searches. However, this report concludes that the positive impact of the recommendations is unlikely, on its own, to increase fairness and public confidence in stops and searches. Changes in procedures need to be accompanied by improved fairness in police application of the procedures. Tables, figures, boxes, notes, references, appendixes
Great Britain Home Office, Policing and Reducing Crime Unit
Clive House, Room 415, Petty France, London, SW1H 9HD England, United Kingdom
Police Research Series Paper 128