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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 August, 2004, 20:21 GMT 21:21 UK
Bishop attacks Howard's doctrine
Right Reverend John Sentamu, Bishop for Birmingham
Bishop Sentamu said he found Mr Howard's statement "puzzling"
The Bishop for Birmingham has attacked a policy statement by the Conservative Leader Michael Howard.

Mr Howard said he wanted to do away with the "political correctness" of police officers issuing receipts to everyone they stopped and searched.

The bishop, the Rt Rev John Sentamu, advised the Stephen Lawrence inquiry panel, which reported in 1999.

He said it was important for police to use their powers to act professionally, appropriately and legally.

The bishop was responding to a speech made by Mr Howard in Middlesbrough, in which he said: "In response to the 9/11 disaster David Blunkett rightly gave the police new stop and search powers to deal with terrorism.

'Second guessing'

"At the time he described them as 'reasonable and proportionate'.

"Not surprisingly the police used those new powers.

"But no sooner had they done so than the government instigated an inquiry into their use.

"Politicians in Whitehall need to stop second guessing the police at every turn."

Research has demonstrated that one of the major benefits of recording information for police stops is that it increases public confidence
Rt Rev John Sentamu
Ugandan-born Bishop Sentamu, who became the first black bishop in the UK to take charge of an Anglican diocese when he was appointed Bishop for Birmingham two years ago, said he found Mr Howard's statement "puzzling".

"The recommendation which Mr Howard referred to in his speech in Middlesbrough was one of 70 made in (the Macpherson) inquiry.

"I spoke to a senior investigating officer in the Metropolitan Police who confirmed that the pilot scheme is reinforcing the view taken by inquiry... that the use of recorded stops and recorded stop and search makes for intelligence-led policing which is transparent and accountable.

"I find it quite puzzling that five-and-a-half years after we suggested this proposal... Mr Howard should choose this moment to call for (it) to be dropped, even when pilot schemes on the proposal are under way.

"Research has demonstrated that one of the major benefits of recording information for police stops is that it increases public confidence."

Full text: Howard on law and order
10 Aug 04  |  Politics
Meeting Macpherson's aims
23 Feb 00  |  UK News

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