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Concerns raised about stop and search charter survey

Assembly Member Caroline Russell pens letter to the Met leadership; StopWatch issues statement

Concerns have been voiced that the Met's new Stop and Search charter survey will fail to capture the 'wide and nuanced range of opinions held by Londoners' on the use of the power.

The survey invites Londoners to give their opinions on stop and search practices with the potential aim of proposing a ‘Stop and Search Charter’ between London’s communities and the Metropolitan Police Service.

However, Assembly Member Caroline Russell wrote to the Met commissioner Sir Mark Rowley to express 'serious concerns' around 'the inherent assumption that stop and search is an inevitable fact of policing', when 'many Londoners don’t believe that stop and search is either a useful or effective tool'. Unfortunately, the survey contains no space for respondents to express this view.

Russell also observed that the survey holds no option to record discontent over racial disproportionality in stop-searches, while asking participants about the potential use of new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and 'algorithms of body worn video footage' to assess the quality of a stop and search encounter.

Russell concludes:

I am therefore worried about the quality of the evidence that you are gathering through this survey and that any actions you intend to take, or new policies introduced based on it, will not have the support or consent of all Londoners.

We have also raised concerns about whether the survey will have any positive impact on the way stop and search is conducted by officers in the capital. Noting Sir Mark Rowley’s recent criticisms of civilians who film police encounters, we believe that such actions from the Met leadership give the impression that 'even the best intentions of the charter risk becoming yet another hollow tickbox exercise'.

You can read our full statement below.

Concerns about stop and search charter survey, StopWatch response

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