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Police Stop And Search: Diversified Or Justified?

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Since the beginning of the 1990s , police stop and search has come into the light of the public eye for various reasons. One of which that has been most debated and researched is racial discrimination. With liberation groups reaching higher up in the political agenda, police conducting stop and search based on ethnicity or religion has been a heatedly debated topic. Moreover, with events such as 9/11 and 7/7, it seemingly relates to “how general powers are used and whether they are used in a way that is more intrusive of liberty than justified by their effectiveness or as a means to discriminate against particular groups.”1 Considering the events that have led to the police employing a generous approach of general and anti-terrorist stop and…show more content…
Quoting Lord Hope in the case of Gillian v. Quinton : “Common sense tells us that the nature of the terrorist threat will play a large part in the selection process. Typically terrorist acts are planned, organised and perpetrated by people acting together to promote a common cause rather than by individuals. They will have a common agenda. They are likely to be linked to sectors of the community that, because of their racial, ethnic or geographical origins, are readily identifiable.”2According to the PACE Code of Practice which provides guidance to police officers on the conduct that is expected from them carrying out their duties such as questioning suspects, obtaining witness statements and stop and search. It was stated in PACE that the primary purpose of the power is “to enable officers to allay or confirm suspicions about individuals without exercising their power of arrest.” 3 Furthermore, under section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000, the threshold to carry out a stop and search is to have a reasonable suspicion that the person is a terrorist. It is often a sensitive area of police work, as protector of citizens, they have the duty to identity and expose any potential harm before it could cause any damages. However, if done without caution and care, discrimination could be perceived, though not intended. Measures have been implemented in order to reduce the tension in such situations under the government of Blair and Brown, but it still needs to be further examined. This phenomenon can be explained through various theories but I shall on focus on the “Conflict Theory”. Conflict theory believes that legal enforcements and their powers enable the more dominant groups in society to take away the threat against them, this is often interpreted as interests that conflict with the interest of such dominant groups enough to be considered a threat, in particular, those of different race,sexual
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