Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Wednesday, July 14, 1999 Published at 10:09 GMT 11:09 UK


UK

Police 'not logging stop and searches'



A former Home Office criminologist has accused several police forces of failing to keep proper records of stop-and-search incidents.


The BBC's Andrew Hosken: "Officers accused of not taking seriously their legal requirements"
Dr Marion FitzGerald, who resigned from her job as a senior criminologist two months ago, says up to 80% of incidents are not being logged.

She says provincial forces are particularly guilty and says the Metropolitan Police in London has a better record, although it is still under-recording stop-and-searches.

Dr FitzGerald says the failure to monitor such searches properly is ruining attempts to ensure that ethnic minorities are not being unfairly targeted.

She says many police officers are not taking seriously their legal obligation to record every stop-and-search they conduct, often because they cannot be bothered with the paperwork.

Black deaths

The requirement was introduced in 1984, under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (Pace) to guard against the possible abuse of police power.

Several black people have died in custody after being arrested in stop-and-search incidents.


[ image: Wayne Douglas: Died in custody after a stop-and-search incident]
Wayne Douglas: Died in custody after a stop-and-search incident
In 1995 riots broke out in Brixton, south London, after Wayne Douglas, 25, died in custody following a stop-search.

A Home Office spokesman told BBC News Online: "We accept there is under-recording of stop-and-search incidents, although we dispute the level."

He said: "We are determined that forces should properly record these incidents."

Stephen Lawrence case: Timeline of events
The Home Secretary, Jack Straw, drew up an Action Plan in the wake of the Macpherson Report into the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence in Eltham, south-east London in 1993.

The report concluded there was "institutionalised racism" in the Metropolitan Police.

Commission for Racial Equality spokesman, Julia Heron, says: "Without having some form of monitoring there is no way of monitoring discrimination.

'Impossible to quantify'

"We would like to see more enforced regulations to make sure this monitoring is done in a more regimented way."

Leicestershire's Assistant Chief Constable, David Coleman, is the Association of Chief Police Officers' spokesman on stop-and-search monitoring. He told BBC News Online: "I know Dr FitzGerald and I have a lot of respect for the work she has done in the past.

"There is evidence that officers are under-reporting stop-searches but it is impossible to put a figure on it."

'Better recording of incidents'

Mr Coleman said there was no practical way of ensuring officers logged stop-searches.

"The problem is, If an officer is on duty at night, on his own, stops someone but does not arrest them, if he does not log it and the person stopped does not pursue it there is no way of knowing if it happened," he said.

Mr Coleman said he was confident new figures out later this year would show an increase in stop-searches due to better recording of such incidents.

"Officers are getting better at monitoring this and recognise that if they don't, people will make wrong assumptions based on misleading figures," he said.





Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


UK Contents

Northern Ireland
Scotland
Wales
England

Relevant Stories

03 Jun 99 | UK
Crime rise 'linked' to Lawrence inquiry

15 Oct 98 | UK
Blacks stopped more often by 'racist' police

30 Jul 98 | UK
Wayne Douglas inquest unnecessary, family told





Internet Links


Home Office

Commission for Racial Equality

Police Federation

Statewatch


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online