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The Purpose of Community Policing

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“Most of Britain’s police forces are still failing to obey rules to prevent abuse of their stop and search powers”(Dodd,2016). Discuss how the principle of ‘reasonable suspicion’ should prevent the abuse of stop and search powers.

Within this essay the focus will be on how the police forces are seen as failing when using stop and search and trying to eliminate and make changes surrounding the reports of stop and search abuse and their powers, then discuss the principle of ‘reasonable suspicion’ should prevent the abuse of stop and search powers and bringing in PACE 1984 and code of ethics , the Peelian principles linking into case studies and statistics. Focusing on areas such as police stop and search powers, police discretion and use of force relating back to the Stephen Lawrence case and the London riots 2011 and what’s happened since those cases.

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“Reasonable suspicion is from section1 of PACE which is the principle of reasonable suspicion which is to be objective not subjective and have reasonable grounds for suspecting a person of committing a crime. “Code A 2.2 is the objective basis for suspicion based on facts, information and or intelligence. Code A 2.2A is personal facts can never support reasonable grounds for suspicion” (PACE 2015)

Before any search is to happen there has to be grounds for a search an object that you’re searching for and the police officer has to have a warrant card , if not in uniform. Firstly, stop and search are powers are there to allow that police officer to stop any person or persons and search them based on reasonable suspicion. The officer must Identify themselves and the station to which you’re attached to. The offender is entitled to a copy of the search record and can also be detained for the purpose of the search. Stop and search is commonly used and the most controversial topic in the United Kingdom.

“Section 1 of PACE is the most commonly used it states that a police constable may search in order to detain any person, vehicle or anything which is in or on a vehicle, in any place to which the public has access if he or she has reasonable grounds will be found. Any such article found during a search may be seized.” (PACE 2015) Upon a search Jacket outercoat and gloves can be asked to be removed , must be conducted out of the public view. “A Stop and search must be carried out on the basis of a specific power set out in legislation. Each time a police officer conducts a stop and search they should be able to demonstrate that they used the right power and complied with the relevant guidance”.(House of commons library 2009).

“Home Office Recent research shows that stop and search has had a small effect on reducing crime. It has shown that black, Asian and ethnic minority are most likely to be searched in 2017/2018 research showed that black people were nine and half times likely to be searched more than white people. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) said in 2017 that many police forces are “unable to explain why” black people are searched more often than white people. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) concluded in 2010 that the “evidence points to racial discrimination being a significant reason for the disparity.”(House of commons library 2009). Evidence shows that there is incorrect use of stop and search powers within the BAME communities and that is causing damage to police relations and the community some may argue that the benefits in reduction in crime out ways the negative impact on the community relations.

The IPPC have had complaints about poor stop and search process and the poor practice used when carried out. Over the past years there have been cases whereby poor stop and search processes have been carried out correctly which have an impact upon that individual’s human rights and legislation. Figures show that there has been a reduction in stop and search since Theresa May had been in government, however recently the government supports the increase of stop and search and that’s important to help prevent serious crimes upon the streets like knife crimes and gun crimes. In 2019 changes were made so that those areas that have been affected to help reduce the crime on the street. In 2019 Boris Johnson became Prime Minister and made changes to police forces in the U.K around stop and search. Statistics show there was an increase of 36% between 2017/8 and 2108/9 and shows irregular transitions all around U.K. “Almost three quarters of all stop and searches are conducted by the ten police forces who use the powers the most. These forces police urban areas and areas surrounding cities”. This encompasses county lines and the drugs and people trafficking. (House of commons library 2009) Figures show that in 2019, “ there were: 370,454 stop and searches conducted under section 1 PACE, an increase of 32% compared to 2018 and the first rise following a downward trend between 2010/11 and 2017/18.Of these, 58,251 led to an arrest, an increase of 21% on the previous year. Despite the increase in the volume of arrests following a section 1 PACE stop and search, the arrest rate fell from 17% to of 16%compared with the previous year. There were also 13,175 stops and searches under section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act in anticipation of violence. This is more than five times the number of searches under this power in the year ending March 2018” (Home Office 2019)

“In 2013, HMIC published Stop and Search Powers: Are the police using them effectively and fairly? 1 The report concluded that stop and search powers were rarely targeted at priority crimes in particular areas and there was very little understanding in forces about how the powers should be used most effectively and fairly to cut crime”. .”(HMIC 2015)Figures shown that 27% had no sufficient grounds for arrest and half the police forces complied with Code A pf PACE .

Since the Stephen Lawrence case in 1999 people were saying there were abuse of powers with stop and search. One claim stated “Officers who abuse their powers of stop-and-search to further a racist agenda should be prosecuted for wasting police time, according to a member of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry panel. Dr Richard Stone, a leading adviser to the judge who produced the landmark Macpherson report in 1999, which concluded that the Metropolitan police was institutionally racist, said officers who targeted suspects on grounds of their skin colour alone should be charged with misusing public resources”.(The Guardian 2012)

The police discretion and the use of force

Another view point would be that of police discretion and the use of force. Peel Principles was stated as to prevent crime and disorder, police by consent, recognising and winning support of the public. Peels aim was preserving public favour but not pander to the public opinion, without regard to injustice to make sacrifice and preserve life. Striking a balance to facilitate protests, keep the peace by using discretion policing vision 2025 is saying keep the public safe, fair and proportionate by using specialist constables, enabling business delivery, digital policing and local policing. So, what happens when it goes wrong? Discretion in the way you police, discretion in who you arrest, discretion in what you do with them, early intervention, and out of court options. The use of force is the officer’s responsibility and that you have to justify your actions. Modern policing is built on discretion (NPCC Policing Vision 2025)

Going back to the 1981 Brixton riots (Scarman 1981) and the August riots in 2011, there are ongoing tensions between the police and the black and Ethnic minority communities. Starting from the Prevention of Crime Act 1953 proposed to introduce a power of arrest for suspected possession of offensive weapons, based on reasonable grounds through to Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. (The British Journal of Criminology 2018)

In 1953 came the Prevention of crime Bill which was to restrict a person from carrying any offensive weapon in a public place without authority or reasonable excuse. This was aimed at to prevent crime, firstly to use a pre-emotive arrest, based on reasonable suspicion, and secondly a non-targeted deterrent. The Bill also looked at shifting from reactive law enforcement to preventative activity based on suspicion. The aim was to go further and get a criminal before he attempts to commit a crime. Stop and search states the police cannot search a person in the street or can say “turn out your pockets”, the police officer has to have reasonable cause for that the person has to have an offensive weapon. (The British Journal of Criminology 2018)

The misuse of Drugs Act 1971 aimed to reduce the misuse of drugs and to give lands and to give future MP’s flexible powers to uphold. Initially the bill was for the medical profession and the unlawful provision of prescription drugs. An amendment introduced an additional stop and search powers to search individuals, vehicles and premises. Critics disliked the detection rates for existing powers as low and suggested that in practice, “reasonable suspicion” either meant either singling out young people or searching young people. In practice stop and search are made more random. (The British Journal of Criminology 2018)

Since Brixton, Toxteth and St Pauls riots in the 1980’s a report known as the Scarman report pointed out errors within stop and search, particularly racial discrimination. Recommendations were made that future new training and procedures were put into place. (Police Journal 2010)

Pace 1984 states that police have to be in uniform, must have reasonable suspicion of a stolen or prohibited item. They should state who they are and what station they are from and area. Why they have grounds for stop and search and why they suspect you and what they expect to find. Section 60 of the terrorism or violence gives the police power to stop and search without suspicion which is a controversial issue today. (Police Journal 2010)

The Terrorism 2000 Act, a police officer can stop and search any pedestrian or driver, provided authorisation is given by an officer of at least the rank of commander The stop-and-search power may be exercised only to search for ‘articles of a kind which could be used in connection with terrorism”; and it may be exercised regardless of whether the constable has reasonable grounds for suspecting the

presence of such articles. The constable may retain any article found, provided he reasonably suspects that the article is intended to be used in connection with terrorism. (Police Journal 2010)

The changing face of policing: the policing styles from the standard model (wisburd and Eck 2004) changes to patrolling , beat management, community policing to reassurance policing are all toward s changes of policing also changes made to the way police problem orientate, intelligence policing, hot spot policing to all help reduce crime all within the vision of 2025 (NPCC Policing Vision 2025) The vision looks at victim satisfaction , quick and effective resolution, early intervention to prevent reoffending addressing complex issues all alignment to the policing vision. How would you guard against over misuse of discretion, counter corruption is used and there is also police misconduct proceedings to help maintain public confidence in the police and the reputation of the police service? The public have reported that of unfair stop and search due to their age, ethnicity or by what they are wearing. Controlling and managing the use of force uses the conflict resolution model, information intelligence, threat assessment, powers and polices and tactical options and actions.(NPCC Policing Vision 2025)

Another area within stop and search powers incorporate the code of ethics, “the aim of this Code of Ethics is to support each member of the policing profession to deliver the highest professional standards in their service to the public. Policing has always had outstanding people who work tirelessly to serve local communities. Indeed, many police officers have paid the ultimate price by putting themselves in harm’s way to keep the public safe.” (College of policing 2014) “Policing principles state Accountability you are answerable for your decisions, actions and omissions. Fairness you treat people fairly. Honesty you are truthful and trustworthy. Integrity you always do the right thing. Leadership you lead by good example. Objectivity you make choices on evidence and your best professional judgement. Openness you are open and transparent in your actions and decisions. Respect you treat everyone with respect. Selflessness you act in the public interest.”(College of policing 2014)

There are debates whether the young people of society have trust in the police taking into their experiences with the police, their perceptions and whether they comply with the law. “The policing of young people, especially through stop-and-search, has been rigorously debated in the context of rising violence in the UK. Findings suggest that stop-and-search may damage trust in the police and perceptions of police legitimacy, regardless of the volume of police stop-and-search, and this may result in increased offending behaviour. With ongoing calls to increase the use of stop-and-search in response to recent increases in knife crime in England, we argue that its use needs to be carefully balanced against the, as yet poorly evidenced, benefits of the use of the tactic”. (Policing and Society 2020)

In conclusion communities feel that the stop and search is harsh and feel that its just aimed at the black, Asian and ethnic minorities and the government are trying to amend these thoughts and feelings about stop and search studies show that a higher proportion of stop and search were black, Asian and ethnic minority’s

 

References:

  1. The British Journal of Criminology > 2018 – Volume 58 > Issue 3, 1 May > Articles > The Modern Making of Stop and Search: The Rise of Preventative Sensibilities in Post-War Britain – Br J Criminal (2018) 58(3): 588–605 accessed 17/02/20
  2. Stop and Search: disproportionality, discretion and generalisations. Darren Ellis. Police Journal pol.J.2010,83(3),199-216
  3. https://uk.westlaw.com/Document/IF81011F23A4611E19C2FE0E17D20DDDD/View/FullText.html accessed 17/02/20.
  4. Stop and Search: Gillian v United Kingdom (4158/05) (20110) 50 E.H.R.R.45; [2010] 1 WLUK 74 (ECHR). David Wicks and Damian Carney. Police Journal Pol.J.2010,83(1),80-83
  5. https://uk.westlaw.com/Document/IF81011F23A4611E19C2FE0E17D20DDDD/View/FullText.html accessed 17/02/20.
  6. Code of Ethics A Code of Practice for the Principles and Standards of Professional Behaviour for the Policing Profession of England and Wales July 2014
  7. Publication date: July 2014© College of Policing Limited (2014)
  8. Introduction to police powers Police stop and search powers House of commons library Published Monday, December 30, 2019 Jennifer Brown accessed 05/05/2020
  9. Home Office Gov.Uk Police powers and procedures, England and Wales, year ending 31 March 2019 accessed 05/05/2020
  10. HMIC 2015 Stop and search powers 2: are the police using them effectively and fairly March 2015© HMIC 2015ISBN: 978-1-78246-791-5 www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmic accessed 05/05/2020
  11. Abuse of stop and search powers is a crime, says Lawrence inquiry adviser
  12. https://www.theguardian.com/law/2012/jan/07/abuse-stop-search-crime-police accessed 06/05/20
  13. Kath Murray, Susan McVie, Diego Farren, Lauren Herlitz, Mike Hough& Paul Norris (2020): Procedural justice, compliance with the law and police stop-and-search: a study of young people in England and Scotland, Policing and Society, DOI:10.1080/10439463.2020.1711756To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/10439463.2020.1711756 accessed 06/05/2020
  14. Intelligence-Led Policing Author: Jerry H. Ratcliffe. Pages: 235 Size: 1.64 MB Format: PDF Publisher: Routledge Ltd – M.U.A.Published: 14 April, 2016eISBN-13: 9781315717579
  15. Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) codes of practice The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 codes of practice regulate police powers and protect public rights. published 26 March 2013
  16. https// www.gov.uk Home Office.Gov.uk accessed 06/05/20
  17. NPCC Policing Vision 2025 https://www.npcc.police.uk/documents/Policing%20Vision.pdf accessed 06/05/20
  18. A challenge for police- community relations: rethinking stop and search in England and Wales: Miller, Joel; Bland, Nick; Quinton, Paul. European Journal on criminal policy and research
  19. Amsterdam Vol.9,Iss.1,(2001):71.DOI:10.1023/A:1011271727673Document RL https://search-proquest.com.ez proxy.wlv.ac.uk/10.1023/A:1011271727673 accessed 03/05/20
  20. Policy paper PACE Code A 2015 Code of practice for statutory powers of stop and search and requirements to record public encounters by police officers and staff. Published 19 March 2015 https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/home-officeaccessed 06/05/20             

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