Critically Discussion of the Issue of Stop and Search

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The issue of stop and search is considered to be an extremely controversial area. There is significant debate on the legitimacy and the accountability of police powers when conducting stop and search, which has led to concerns about the effectiveness of policing. Reiner (2000: 80) has stated that policing is ‘beyond legitimation’ as a result of consistent complaints concerning the abuse of police powers within stop and search. The cause for concern is not only raised by the public, or other agencies, but is now recognised by senior British police officers (Ainsworth, 2002: 28). The cause of concern has been raised through complaints that police target ethnic minorities through stop and search and public opinion, that stop and search is a …show more content…
The issue lies within the interpretation of what constituents reasonable grounds, as it is a subjective suspicion that can be interpreted differently by individual police officers and forces (Bowling and Phillips, 2007).
There are numerous concerns based on the quantity and content of stop and searches which are often influenced by institutionalised racism (Home Office, 1997). Studies suggested that the police maintain a belief that black people are prone to be involved in violent crimes (Reiner, 1989). Therefore leading to black individuals routinely falling victim to police stereotypes and overgeneralisations (Bowling and Phillips, 2007). Police interviews have suggested that police perceive certain ethnicities to be involved with certain crimes, one interview suggested that if police are alerted of a robbery, 90% of the time they will assume it is involving a black individual (Quinton et al, 2000). Despite that there is evidence suggesting that racial disadvantages will cause an increase in young blacks to be involved with crime, suggesting that these suspicions are justified (Waddington et al, 2007). Furthermore, there is little research suggesting that police enforce their prejudices when working on the streets, thus suggesting that racial views are a result of police canteen sub-culture (Waddington, 1999).
There is a substantial amount of support, suggesting an infringement of police powers within stop and search from
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