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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 November, 2004, 13:46 GMT
New 'stop' system for Met police
Officers must provide a written record to everybody they stop
New 'stop-and-search' rules come into effect for police officers across London from Wednesday.

Officers must give a written record of the incident to everybody they stop - not just those who are later searched.

The change was one of the recommendations of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry report.

The Metropolitan Police Federation has expressed concern about the move, saying the new procedure "wastes valuable police time".

Glen Smyth of the federation said although the move was designed to improve relations between the police and public, so far the omens "did not look promising".

The Metropolitan force was one of seven police services chosen by the Home Office to implement pilot sites for Recommendation 61 (of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry report).

It has been running in two police boroughs, Hackney and Tower Hamlets, since April and December 2003 respectively.

'Perception of unfairness'

Hackney has been piloting a paper-based recording method involving a specially designed 'stop-and-account' form while a technology-based system was trialled in Tower Hamlets.


The project has been overseen by the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) which in May published a report claiming the practice of 'stop-and-search' was "influenced by racial bias".

John Roberts who led the MPA's 'stop-and-account' team said police stops were currently one of the most contentious policing issues for London's ethnic minority communities.

"It creates a perception of unfairness that threatens the acknowledged effectiveness of stops as a policing tactic and damages trust and confidence in the police," Mr Roberts said.

The Met's Deputy Commissioner Sir Ian Blair said he was proud of the force's efforts to improve its relationship with London's communities.

Sir Ian said: "By providing a written record of stop and account interactions we will be able to build an even greater level of trust within the community."

But Conservative party leader Michael Howard attacked the new measure. He told MPs in the Commons it was nonsense" and "a piece of political correctness".

But Prime Minister Tony Blair defended the change.

"It is an important part of policing in London to police with the support of the local community," he said.




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