From: Islamic Human Rights Commission
22 February 2018
PRESS RELEASE – UK: London stop and search policing drive must have greater accountability
IHRC has written to the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan calling for increased accountability for his decision to introduce more ‘stop and search’ policing to the capital.
Mr Khan announced last month that there would be a “significant” increase in the use of stop and search in what appeared to be a knee-jerk reaction to a recent surge in knife and acid attacks.
However he failed to check the wide-ranging police powers with any effective balances against their misuse in relation to ethnic and religious minorities who have historically found themselves disproportionately targeted by stop and search.
Statistics show that Black and Asian people are more likely to be stopped by police than white people (8 times more likely for a black person).
“This has created distrust and alienation among large sections of BME communities. Your policy will further damage the relationship between the police and these communities,” the letter warns the mayor.
It also reminds the mayor of his own opposition to widespread and discriminatory use of stop and search while he was a human rights lawyer and that government and police studies have themselves shown that increased stops and searches have no discernible deterrent or crime-reducing effect.
IHRC makes three recommendations to Mr Khan. Firstly that he should reconvene the now disbanded Stop and Search Community Panel which will review and scrutinise the implementation of stop and search in London, ensuring that the new panel is representative of London’s diverse ethnic and religious make-up. Secondly, the mayor should address the cuts to front-line policing which will we believe have forced police to adopt this controversial tactic. And finally, better training of police officers with a specific focus on conducting stop and search and what amounts to discriminatory targeting.
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Notes to editors: The full transcript of the letter can be read at https://ihrc.org.uk/activities/campaigns/12075-letter-to-mayor-of-london-regarding-stop-and-search
IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222