Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Police used their powers to stop nearly two million members of the public in the street and demand they account for their behaviour or actions, Ministry of Justice figures published today revealed.
The “stop and account” statistics, being published for the first time, reveal the scale of police use of the powers, and show that black people are two and a half times more likely than whites to be questioned on the street.
The use of these powers, and the need for police officers to complete a lengthy form on each occasion they are used, sparked political controversy earlier this year.
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The row led the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, to pledge that alternative ways of recording each stop would be found.
A Home Office green paper on the future of policing, to be published next week, will replace the forms with new radio technology allowing officers to transmit the details of each stop.
Today’s figures showed that the number of times the police stopped members of the public had risen from 1.4m in 2005-2006 to 1.87m in 2006-2007 – an increase of one-third.