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Preston councillor calls for end to ‘discriminatory’ stop and searches

Posted on - 12th August, 2020 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Cadley, Crime, Lancashire Police, Politics, Preston News
Cllr John Potter

Councillor John Potter of Cadley ward has called on Lancashire Constabulary to end ‘discriminatory’ stop and searches.

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This comes after Liberal Democrat MPs put forward a Bill in the House of Commons to scrap suspicion-less (section 60) stop and searches, given evidence of disproportionate use against Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.

A spokesperson for Lancashire Constabulary said: “Stop and search is a useful police power and we do all we can to ensure that our use of that power is consistent, fair and effective.

“Lancashire Constabulary has a culture among officers and staff of treating people with respect and courtesy in all interactions, including stop and search, and we train all staff to use stop and search fairly and appropriately.

“We continue to use both internal and external scrutiny of our use of stop and search to ensure its use is fair and appropriate.”

Read more: Preston residents asked for views on policing priorities

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request has revealed that although BAME people make up 10 per cent of Lancashire’s population, they accounted for 17 per cent of 272 stop and search cases in the past 12 months.

The FOI request was made after Cllr Potter did not receive a response on the topic from the Police and Crime Commissioner. Cllr Potter asked whether section 60 stop and search powers were in use and how they affected the BAME communities.

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Cllr Potter said: “Like many after the recent Black Lives Matter protests, we wanted to make a difference and campaign for positive change. While our MPs try to do their bit in Westminster, this is something we can fight for right here in Preston.

“Lancashire Constabulary is choosing to use these questionable powers and that they are disproportionately affecting our BAME communities.

“Lancashire Constabulary and Clive Grunshaw, the Police and Crime Commissioner, should do the right thing and scrap the use of suspicion-less stop and search.”

Read more: Black Lives Matter supporters to run Preston Guild Wheel

Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Stop and search is an important tool available to officers to help keep people safe. However, these powers need to be used proportionately, and the stop and search ride along scheme sees my office work closely with the force to ensure that this is the case.

“I am confident that the Constabulary is committed to continually improving the way it works to keep people safe and serve all the people of Lancashire.”

Read more: Latest news and updates from Blog Preston

Do you agree with Cllr Potter? Should suspicion-less stop and searches be banned? Let us know in the comments below.

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