MSP’s concern at stop and search rise

Police Scotland

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North east MSP Alex Johnstone has expressed his concern at the rise in police stop and search incidents in Angus.

The number of recorded police stop and search incidents has risen by 325 per cent across the county, despite a recent report questioning the effectiveness of the measure.

Overall, Angus saw 2,925 stop and searches between April and December 2013, up from 687 during the same period in 2012.

These figures include both statutory searches, which require reasonable suspicion, and non-statutory searches which require no suspicion and can be refused.

The rise was revealed in a recent Scottish Policy Authority (SPA) publication which stated that there was no clear evidence that stop and search had been effective.

Police Scotland has previously argued there is link between stop and search and a reduction in violent crime across the country.

The SPA report also highlighted that the majority of officers interviewed agreed that “many of those searched on a non-statutory basis may not be aware that they have the right to decline”.

Scottish Conservatives MSP Mr. Johnstone said: “Stop and search is a useful tool for Police Scotland when used properly.

“But these figures indicate an over-the-top approach that will unsettle people in Arbroath and understandably so.

“I’m concerned that people here are being stopped unnecessarily and not properly informed of their right which is completely unacceptable.

“When the officers carrying out stop and search are admitting people are not being informed of their legal rights, serious questions must be asked about current procedure.”

“The police do a vital job in Arbroath and hopefully the report’s recommendations can be given due consideration.”