Met Police rethinks use of stop and search

By Neil Puffett

| 13 January 2012

The use of stop and search is set to be reduced in a bid to improve relations with the black community, the Metropolitan Police has announced.

A new approach, rubberstamped at a police authority meeting yesterday (12 January), will see a more "intelligence-led and targeted" approach with a view to making more arrests and seizing more weapons.

The tactic has long been controversial, with concerns consistently raised that black or Asian boys are more likely to be stopped than their white counterparts.

In 2010 the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said a number of police forces may be breaching the law by disproportionate use of stop and search powers on black and minority ethnic (BME) young people.

Commander Tony Eastaugh, who will be overseeing the Met Police’s new approach, said: "Stop and search is an important policing tactic and a deterrent to crime.

"We know from public attitude surveys that communities support us when it is used fairly and professionally, however, we accept there are disparities in the use of stop and search.

"While the causes of these disparities are complex, it is vital that we not only maintain but enhance local accountability to provide greater transparency in relation to our use of stop and search to combat violent crime."

The disproportionate use of stop and search has previously been highlighted as a potential factor in the over-representation of BME children in custody.

The proportion of BME children in the secure estate, which was already hugely over-represented, rose to 39 per cent in 2010/11 from 33 per cent in 2009/10.

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