Total number of police searches falls but use higher than in England

Daniel Johnson

The use of stop and search in Scotland remains higher than in England despite the introduction of a new code, new figures show.

There was a drop in searches in the first six months after the code came into effect last year, as compared to the same period in 2016.

Between June and November 2017 there were 17,446 searches, down from 24,210 in the same period in 2016, a drop of 28 per cent.

But Labour said its analysis showed there were 5.4 searches for every 10,000 people carried out each month in Scotland, while in England there were only 4.3 searches per 10,000 people.

The code governing stop and search was introduced last May following concerns at the number of people being searched without legal basis.

It stipulates that searches must be “necessary, proportionate and in accordance with the law”.

Labour justice spokesman Daniel Johnson said: “It is important with stop and searches that the police strike the right balance between protecting the public and recognising the intrusion into personal liberty and privacy.

“Against the background of a new code of conduct, I believe questions need to be answered by the police on use of this tactic.”

Police Scotland assistant chief constable Mark Williams said: “The reality is that the volume of stop and searches in Scotland has fallen dramatically and a recent independent review highlighted our continued strong progress.

“Stop and search is still a very valuable policing tactic which contributes to the prevention, investigation and detection of crime, as well as keeping people safe.”

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