29 January 2014
StopWatch response to the Metropolitan Police’s Statement regarding allegations of target setting
In response to an article published in The Mirror on the 26 January 2014 the Metropolitan Police Service (‘MPS’) issued a statement denying there is a policy of setting individual targets for stop and search or arrests. In this statement, the MPS states it is subject to regular scrutiny by ‘groups such as StopWatch’. This is a misrepresentation of the role of StopWatch and implies that the organisation operates as an official scrutiny body, which we do not.
StopWatch is an independent organisation which advocates for effective, accountable and fair policing. Since it was established in 2010 StopWatch has produced a number of reports that have highlighted the damaging impact of stop and search on black and minority ethnic communities throughout the UK. Through informal dialogue with the MPS we have highlighted our continuing concerns about high rates of stop and search within the Capital and the fact that the police are still disproportionately targeting those from BME backgrounds. In view of this, we are particularly dismayed by the MPS’s assertion that it “ensure[s] that [stop and search] powers are applied with honesty and integrity”; seemingly disregarding those concerns.
The coalition of academics, lawyers, young people and NGOs involved in StopWatch are committed to ensuring that stop and search in the UK is reformed. We will do this as an independent organisation free from the constraints of formal partnerships with those responsible for the problems we see in policing today.