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Sunday, 1 October, 2000, 14:25 GMT 15:25 UK
Top cops defend search tactics
stop and search
Police believe stop-and-search helps to tackle crime
The UK's top policemen have attacked a report which calls on police to stop searching people suspected of minor crimes, including possession of cannabis.

The Police Foundation, of which Prince Charles is president, said the stop-and-search tactic has damaged relations between the police and minority communities, which often feel victimised.

But the Association of Chief Police Officers has dismissed the report, commissioned by the Metropolitan Police, claiming its proposals could damage the fight against crime.

Stop-and-search powers are a key weapon in the fight against crime and disorder

Home Office spokesman
The government has confirmed it will not be taking up the suggestions made in the report, which was written by former Home Office analyst Peter Jordan.

A Home Office spokesman said: "As the Stephen Lawrence report made clear, stop-and-search powers are a key weapon in the fight against crime and disorder on our streets.

"The government is committed to ensuring that the powers are used fairly and effectively in the interests of the community they serve," he added.

The spokesman also said the report will not be discussed at a seminar on the use of stop-and-search powers on Wednesday.

'Useful tactic'

Hosted by Home Office minister Charles Clarke, the seminar will be attended by police, the Lawrence Steering Group and representatives of ethnic communities.

The Home Office spokesman said: "We have commissioned a comprehensive programme of research on the use of stop-and-search, which will inform debate at the seminar."

The aim would be to "develop proposals to ensure the powers are used fairly and effectively", added the spokesman.

We constantly keep our own performance under review

Association of Chief Police Officers
A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers said: "Stop-and-search is a useful tactic in fighting crime and of great value to us.

"We are aware that there are sometimes concerns over how it is employed and that is why we constantly keep our own performance under review," he added.

No-one from the Police Foundation - at the centre of a major row earlier this year when it said that prison terms for users of drugs including Ecstasy should be scrapped - was available for comment on Sunday.

A spokeswoman for St James's Palace said Prince Charles had not been involved in the foundation's report.

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See also:

06 Apr 00 | London Mayor
Candidate backs stop and search
17 Dec 99 | Talking Point
Stop and Search: Is it justified?
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