6 November 2012

Stop and Search your PCC - Leicestershire PCC hopefuls Promise to Look at Stop-and-Search Practice

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All three candidates vying to become Leicestershire’s first Police and Crime Commissioner promise if elected to review the use of stop-and-search powers although fell short on guarantees to ensure that stop-and-account is recorded.

The event was well attended and provided people in Leicester with the opportunity to question candidates on their manifesto pledges and on issues affecting their local communities. A wide range of questions were put to candidates including how they would tackle the root causes of crime, address far-right extremism, engage communities and young people after the elections, ensure that policing remains free from political interference and how they would ensure that Leicestershire police force reflects local demographics.

Stop-and-search emerged as a key area of concern for many attendees and a number of questions relating to this issue were put to candidates during the course of the evening.

The candidates showed good awareness of the potential problems that stop-and-search can cause for young people and those from minority ethnic backgrounds. Whilst highlighting the utility of such powers in stopping crime, they agreed that there was a need to ensure that such powers were carried out fairly and monitored carefully.

All three candidates pledged that, if elected, stop-and-search would be on their agenda and that they would review the way it was being used by Leicestershire Constabulary; this included looking at stop-and-account, where people are detained by the police to account for their presence in a particular location and give officers their personal information such as their name and address. However, no candidate felt that they were able to join the firm pledge already given by PCC candidates for the West Midlands and Suffolk to record stop-and-account although they did stress that they would look at it with an open mind and consult local communities and police officers.

Stop-and-accounts used to be recorded by all police forces across England and Wales until last year when the national requirement to do so was revoked. As with most police forces, the Leicestershire Constabulary, ceased to record this power and now there are only a handful of areas where this has been retained including the Metropolitan Police Service and Suffolk.

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