Racial disproportionality in stop and search is at its highest in over 20 years – and is rising.
Under suspicionless Section 60, this is even higher.
A random sample of 100 recorded stop-and-search encounters was selected from all 601 encounters recorded by Greater Manchester Police between 1st January and 31st August 2017, with an average duration of 12 minutes of combined video and audio with transcripts.
These records were coded entirely by the first author for the four main dimensions of procedural justice and details about the actors/participants involved.
In this latter category, not one officer linked the purpose of the stop and search to the wider organisational purpose of protecting society and helping to keep people safe.
This evidence suggests the potential value of an ongoing tracking measure for police legitimacy which could be used as a supervisory and human development tool for operational officers, comparing individuals, units, areas and trends over time in objectively coded features of police behaviour towards citizens.
The dimensions were combined into an overall index score of procedural justice for each encounter.
Most stop-and-searches were characterised by a strong element of police allowing citizens to express voice, followed by police demonstrating respect and offering explanation.
Under pressure from communities, campaign groups, and a damning police inspectorate report uncovering ‘alarming’ and ‘disturbing’ evidence the powers were not being used lawfully, Theresa May introduced a voluntary scheme in 2014 to address deficiencies of stop and search: the Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme (BUSSS).
At the time, she committed to changing the law if this scheme failed to deliver the promised reforms.