Human rights expert calls for an end to stop and search

Human rights expert calls for an end to stop and search

A human rights expert has called for the police’s stop and search policy to be brought to an end as it raises serious legal concerns.

Professor Alan Miller (pictured), chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC) said that so-called “suspicioneless” stop-and-searches, which comprise one third of all searches would probably be defeated if tested in court.

The searches are intended to determine whether people are carrying weapons and was originally deployed by Strathclyde Police before being imposed nationally under Police Scotland’s chief constable Sir Stephen House.

In 2013-14 there were over 600,000 searches.

Of these, 30 per cent were statutory – in such cases officers’ had reasonable suspicion the individual possessed prohibited items.

But 70 per cent of the searches were non-statutory.

Suspicionless searches have been outlawed in England and Wales and Mr Miller, who was re-elected SHRC chair in 2013, said: “When used appropriately, statutory stop and search can help to keep us all safe.

“However, the commission has serious concerns about the legality and scale of non-statutory stop and search.”

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