Socialist Worker

Stop and search laws to be tightened

by Adam Cochrane
Issue No. 2418

People at the Notting Hill Carnival were angry at police racism. These young men make the hands up gesture in solidarity with Mike Brown

People at the Notting Hill Carnival were angry at police racism. These young men make the "hands up" gesture in solidarity with Mike Brown (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Home Secretary Theresa May announced measures this week to restrict the use of police stop and search powers. 

“Nobody wins when stop and search is misused,” she said. “It can be an enormous waste of police time and damage the relationship between the public and police.”

Police will now record the outcome of every stop and search and there will be limits on the Section 60 power.

This gives police the power to search people within a designated area for offensive weapons or dangerous instruments. 

There is no requirement of reasonable suspicion. It is a criminal offence to refuse to be searched. 

The government had been under pressure after a report revealed that more than a quarter of stop and searches carried out in 2011/12 were illegal. 

Another report revealed that black people were six times more likely to be stopped and searched. It was as high as 29 times in some areas. 

Twenty five police forces in England and Wales have agreed to implement the measures immediately. 

These included the Metropolitan Police. Fortunately for them, the announcement came after the Notting Hill Carnival. 

Around 7,000 police officers were deployed for the two-day festival. Police arrested 261 people and issued a Section 60 notice at 7pm. 


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