Should The simple answer was in fact “there

Should
the police be allowed to stop and search? This question has been widely debated
for many years, and a conclusion needs to be reached. In this essay, I will
discuss the many views on the law of stop and search, and eventually reach a
fair justification, closing this controversial argument once and for all.

 

However,
before we begin analysing the sources, I must explain: what is ‘stop and
search?’. Stop and search laws were first introduced in The Police and Criminal
Evidence Act 1994. In order to stop and search someone, the police must have a
justified reason as to why they have done this. There have been many arguments
about whether stopping and searching people is right, as it is closely linked
with discrimination and racism. There have been several riots protesting
against this and police have been told constantly to reduce the amount they
stop and search unless it is an emergency. The amount of stopping and searching
has reduced from 1.2 million searches a year to 386,474 searches, but it still
happens, for necessary reasons or for purportedly racial reasons. Even though
the number has fallen, there is still a large disputation, and therefore, this
essay will come to a closure on this issue.

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In
the first source I have to analyse (Source 1 from The Independent), the person
interviewed feels like stop and search needs to be abolished, and is against
it. The source lets us take an insight into a man’s life. He runs a drama
workshop, and in a particular activity, he asked a boy to put his hands to his
face and sit down. He then asked the group what they can see. Many children
inferred and said that “he is depressed” or “his mum and dad broke up”.
However, these were all wrong. The simple answer was in fact “there is a boy
sitting down with his face in his hands”. This simple activity depicts the
daily lives of the police force. Every day they have to put aside and lock away
their feelings and instead use their logic to inspect and see whether a person
poses a threat to others or not. Despite this rule being in place, black people
are seven times more likely to be stopped by police than white people. Is this
a coincidence? I think not. Stop and search is the reason why black people have
such wariness around police, and black people feel humiliated by it. In
addition, stop and search has a 9% success rate. If it is so low, why is it
still in place? There is not a point, other than having a repugnant obsession
with shaming black people.

 

The
second source I have to evaluate (Source 2 from a blog post) is against stop
and search. It explains how effective stop and search at detecting and
deterring crime. In the “detecting crime” section, it tells us about the
contradicting views of the Metropolitan Police and other parts of society. The
Metropolitan Police believe that by reducing the amount that police stop and
search, it has increased the amount of crime on streets. Furthermore, they
think that it is a fair way of allowing the police to detect crime, without
actually arresting them. Statistics in this source tell us that the arrest rate
has dropped from 13% in 2003-4 to only 9% in 2009-12. The overall arrest rate –
which is persistently lower than 15% – tells us that indeed, stop and search
is, in reality, not an effective way of detecting crime. The arrest rate also
depends on what the reason of arrest is. For example: 20% of people who were
searched on the suspicion of carrying an offensive weapon were arrested, but in
contrast, a mere 9% of people accused for having drugs on them were arrested.
In the “detecting crime” section, it informs us of a project that took place in
2008 called “Operation Blunt 2”. It tried to prevent the amount the crime rate
in London, so as a first attempt at succeeding at this task, they increased the
stop and search rate by a significant amount. Unfortunately, by doing this,
there was instead a 300% increase in crime! These two factors both go to show
how ineffective stop and search actually is and gives two valid reason why it
should be abolished.

 

The
third source (Source 3 from The Telegraph) is a source that has mixed opinions
on the law of stop and search. It is an article by someone called Philip
Johnson. His opinion is that the chances that you will be stopped and searched
depends on your skin colour, age and clothing, for example: you are more likely
to get stopped by police if you are a young, black person wearing a hoodie
rather than a middle-class white man. Also, in the article, it provides not
only his insight, but also Theresa May and the Tories. The Tories believe that
they understand the feelings of the black and ethnic minority voters. They
think that our main priority is for us and our kids to be safe on the streets,
and that is their reason for having so many police officers on the streets. But
this is wrong. Yes, we want safety, but not only from criminals, but the police
force themselves. However, in the second section of the article, he makes a
contradictory point. He states that the figures that imply that stop and search
is more common in black and ethnic are incorrect. Official facts tell us that
black people are 37 times more likely to get stopped, but he says that black
and people of the ethnic minorities were stopped 57% of the time, whilst white
people were the other 43%. This does not suggest that the police use stop and
search disproportionately.

 

The
fourth source that I am analysing (Source 4 from BBC News) says that the drop
in police stop and search is causing the higher amount of knife crime.
Previously, knife crime in the city rose by 16% whilst stop and search
decreased by 41%. The people of the black communities feel that the police are
out to get them, however, BBC News disagrees with this. They think that these
people are thinking irrationally and need to think logically. The police do not
intend to be racist, but they feel that every time they stop someone who is not
the same race of them, they are being racist. The police feel that they need to
escape from this mentality and that the police officers are just doing their
job and don’t want to be branded “racist”.

 

The
fifth source that I am evaluating (Source 5 from The Evening Standard) is for
stop and search, but doesn’t give reasons to do with law, but the psychological
mind-set of the police force. It says that stop and search rules should be in
place, but rather than police using them ineffectively, they are actually
afraid to use them in case they get accuse of being judgemental towards
particular people. A Met Commissioner stated last year that the increase in
knife crime is due to the minute amount of stopping and searching because the
criminals feel like there is a small chance of getting caught.

 

The
last source that I will evaluate is from a website called Equality Human
Rights. It says that stop and search is very effective and necessary. It says
that the ‘evidence’ we see that proves that the police are using stop and
search ineffectively is truly false, and there is other, more reliable evidence
that proves that by not stopping and searching people that could be a threat to
us, the crime levels in Britain would rise greatly. Staffordshire and Cleveland
police show that when police abilities are used correctly they can be very
helpful in finding criminal roaming the streets.

 

In
conclusion, I agree with the first three sources. In other words, I believe
that stop and search needs to be abolished. By allowing this to happen, the
police force is becoming a breeding ground for judgemental and racist people.
Society today should trust, and not be afraid of the police, but due to all the
reports we hear about black people being killed by them, we become weary. I
understand that it is human nature to feel naturally protective your race, but
in order to stop and search people, this nature needs to be nurtured into an
accepting mind. In order to stop and search people, they need to be judged by
their appearance, and isn’t that being prejudice? It is teaching people to not
trust anyone and it is ruining society today. The damage done is already too
hard to repair, but we can try our best to help it as best as we can. And the
first step to doing this is abolishing stop and search – a deed that should
have been done decades ago.