Stop and search
- In 2018, the Met carried out over 150,000 stop and searches
- Of those, the majority (57 per cent) were for drugs, followed by ‘weapons, points and blades’ (19 per cent)
- In the first four months of 2018, there were 95 Section 60 orders issued, with 46 of these covering a whole borough.
Stop and search powers mean that police officers can search a person or their vehicle without arresting them first. The use of these powers has long been contentious, with some people expressing concerns about whether their use is fair and whether it’s effective in reducing crime at all.
In 2014, the previous Police and Crime Committee published a report on stop and search. It found that the Met were making stop and search more effective but that there were issues with:
- Public confidence in the way the powers were used
- Lack of recording of stops and searches
- People from black, Asian and minority ethnic groups being disproportionately stopped and searched
- Patchy engagement with young people around stop and search, and a complaints system that did not work.
Over the last year, stop and search has been one of the tactics that the Met has deployed to tackle rising levels of serious violence. This includes using measures such as Section 60. Under Section 60, a senior officer can authorise police to stop and search people for offensive weapons or dangerous instruments without reasonable grounds, across a set area and for a fixed period.
At the same time, there have been changes to the way in which officers are held accountable for their use of these powers. The rollout of body-worn video across the Met should make it easier for members of the public to hold the police to account, as well as helping officers to demonstrate that they are using their powers lawfully and proportionately.
During its investigation into serious violence, the Police and Crime Committee has heard a lot about stop and search. The Committee is now holding a session on stop and search to find out more about:
- How the use of stop and search has changed in recent years in the capital
- What impact stop and search has on the relationships between the Met and the communities it serves.
The Committee is holding a public meeting on Wednesday 23rd January 2019, and hopes to raise any issues from this meeting in its next regular question and answer session with the Met and the Mayor’s Office for Policing (MOPAC) on 6th February 2019.
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Please note: The Committee cannot intervene in individual cases or complaints against the Metropolitan Police Service. If you have a complaint about a specific incident with the police, you should first contact the Metropolitan Police so it can carry out an investigation. More information on how to make a complaint can be found on the Metropolitan Police website here. You can also find out more about police complaints from the Independent Office for Police Conduct here.