Plea to Brent residents to voice their opinions on police stop and search practices
PUBLISHED: 10:02 10 July 2013
A Home Office consultation into how police use stop and search powers has triggered an urgent appeal for people in Brent to get involved.
Supt Nick Davies of Brent Police:
“The consultation is important to us – we want to hear from people in Brent and see how we can improve the whole stop and search experience.
“We want it to be understood and my officers to treat them in a respectful manner.
“It’s about educating people about why we use stop and search and educating police officers on the effect it has on the public.
“I am satisfied our stop and search is the best in London but I am always happy to listen to what the public have to say.
“We are looking to build confidence in our communities about how we use stop and search and how and when we use it.
“It’s very much an intelligence led process.
“On the whole, we are satisfied we are delivering stop and search in the right places at the right time
“We have a lot of gang crime and stop and search is one of the methods we use to help keep people safe.”
The six-week consultation is welcomed by Brent Stop and Search Monitoring Group which scrutinises police compliance with legislation and works to build public confidence in fair use.
The group is urging communities and people affected by stop and search to have their say about it.
Among the powers police have under the law, is the ability to stop and search someone they have reasonable grounds for suspecting is carrying stolen goods or controlled drugs.
Senior officers can order stop and searches in given areas for up to 48 hours.
Denise Richards, group chairman, said: “The responsibility now falls on all communities to take the time to complete the document and have their say.
“I especially implore young men from the black and Asian communities, who appear from the statistics to be most affected, to ensure that the filling-in of this document is a priority.
“The group wants to make a difference and cannot do it without your contribution.”
Roy Croasdaile, vice-chairman, added that there is an urgent need to get a community response to stop and search. The group believes that unfair use of the practice can harm communities and feed into unemployment figures and hit educational attainment.
“It can be that serious,” said Mr Croasdaile. “It impacts on our lives and our futures.”
Despite embracing the consultation, the group criticised the Home Office for launching it over the summer when young people in education, who they are keen to see respond to the document, cannot be reached via their institutions.
“It is untimely, inappropriate and we are seeking an extension beyond September,” said Mr Croasdaile.
A Home Office spokesman said: “We are consulting over the summer to ensure we can present proposals around the use of these powers to Parliament in the autumn.”
The group says some police statistics relating to stop and search are outdated.
Mr Croasdaile said: “We have been vigorously and robustly challenging the data.
“It does not take into account vulnerable people and, up to 2013, information was based on the 2001 census.”
Supt Nick Davies, of Brent Police, said: “It is frustrating, but it is in the process of being resolved and the new census information for 2011 has been made available.”
Visit www.gov.uk/government/organisations/home-office to complete the consultation or you can post responses to Stop and Search Consultation, Home Office, Police Transparency Unit, 6th Floor, Fry Building, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF.
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