1 January 2007
Disproportionate and Discriminatory: Reviewing the Evidence on Police Stop and Search
Eight years after the Lawrence Inquiry, the question of police powers to stop and search people in public places remains at the forefront of debate about police community relations. Police are empowered to stop and search citizens under a wide range of legislative acts and the power is employed daily across Britain.
Far from laying the debate to rest, the Lawrence Inquiry prompted new research studies and fresh theories to explain the official statistics. We argue that the statistics show that the use of the powers against black people is disproportionate and that this is an indication of unlawful racial discrimination. If stop and search powers cannot be effectively regulated - and it seems that they cannot - then their continued use is unjustified and should be curtailed.