A return to the bad old days of stop and search targets will not be tolerated

The allegations arising from Channel 4’s investigation are deeply concerning.

The allegations arising from Channel 4’s investigation are deeply concerning

Last week Channel 4 news reported that leaked documents had shown Met police officers in one London borough had been issued with targets for the number of arrests and stop and searches they were expected to conduct each month.

The revelation sent shockwaves through large sections of London’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities as fears flared of a return to the bad old days of ethnic minorities bearing the brunt of a ramped up use of Stop and Search.

Channel 4 say the documents show officers were ‘expected to arrest at least two people every month, as well as to stop and search at least four’. When I put this to the assistant Met commissioner Craig Mackey this week he denied the reports and said the Met was ‘absolutely clear’ that targets of this kind should not exist.

Whilst I welcome the assistant commissioner’s comments and positive assurances that this is not Met policy, this is the third time in the last year that officers within the Met have been accused of implementing arrest and stop and search targets.

Public trust in the police continues to be a serious concern, particularly in the capital and even more so within large sections of our BAME communities who still feel the pains of previous injustices. The truth is that while concern remains, many BAME Londoners will worry that the fragile progress we have made may be slipping back.

If true, the allegations arising from Channel 4’s investigation are deeply concerning. Targets for stop and searches mean more minority Londoners being unfairly targeted, which could do irreparable harm to community relations in the capital.

Policing should be done through co-operation between officers and communities; not through fear. Whilst the assistant commissioner’s reassurances are welcome, we must be clear that a return to the bad old days of stop and search targets will not be tolerated.

With this being the third time this year that serious concerns have been raised about stop and search targets, the Met would do well to take action to get to the bottom of the issue.

The public need to have faith that all police officers, whether at a local or central level, are clear that targets for arrests or stop and search are nothing more than a discredited, destructive and divisive tool of the past.

Jennette Arnold AM is Labour & Co-op London Assembly Member working for Hackney, Islington & Waltham Forest

11 Responses to “A return to the bad old days of stop and search targets will not be tolerated”

  1. GhostofJimMorrison

    BAME communities: You mean Londoners. Will you people ever stop playing identity politics! Why did the ‘left’ abandon the principles of the brotherhood of man and universal rights for all to putting people into ‘communities’ based on such an insignificance as skin colour. “You are black/asian! You belong in this community, with separate ‘rights’ and obligations than the rest of the country”. You will be treated differently”
    Your forbears in the co-op movement would be exasperated.

  2. JohnRich

    Nothing wrong with making sure that the police do their job effectively.

  3. swat

    Those stopped often display an ‘attitude’ problem, which often gets them into more trouble than the initial stop, and until that attitude changes, we are not going to make any progress in ‘SnS’. Even with more hitech equipment and cameras etc. The Police are loaded with equipment as it is. Lets educate our youngsters to be a bit more cooperative when stopped; ‘attitude’ just makes the situation worse.

  4. Liberanos

    It’s a problem which almost defies solution. The police are taught to concentrate on the most likely perpetrators. Among black communities, the carrying of knives by, overwhelmingly, black youths has resulted in an avalanche of hideous wounding and sometimes death of fellow members of those communities. The police are simply following their training. Clearly, if you are a black person going about your peaceful business, your outrage and anger at random stop and search are totally understandable. But they do have to be set against the police’s, possibly clumsy, attempt to protect you.

  5. Guest

    No, your pigs are targeting people on the basis of appearance. YOU are the one defending treating people differently, as you then deny that communities exist.

    No, the forbears would rightly condemn you for your attitudes.

  6. Guest

    Ah yes, grovel harder, black peons!
    Then the pigs might not break your face.

  7. Guest

    Yea, pigs gotta be pigs and focus on the darkies after all.

  8. Guest

    Complete crap. Evidence-based stops are quite different from numbers-based targeting. And the pigs protecting people? No, not if you’re in a minority.

  9. john p reid

    You have no idea what you’re in about, a stop and search isn’t a sucsess if it results in an arrest / caution,
    If a person spots someone with a knife,tels the police, then the police approach that pesom, prison A, may have discarded, just found it, or have lawful reason to have it, carpet fitter, scout, Sikh, etc
    If a person spit someone with white powder, a roll up, that smells funny, and police are informed,stop and search ,them, they may have a reason for having ot,

    Going equipped, by a car, or a phone box with a screw driver, may have genuine reason to be looking into car windows in a car park,
    They may have bought paint, and just happen to have got out a can hear a brick wall put it back again, where there’s graffiti,

  10. swat

    I think its called ‘respect’, man.

  11. Guest

    Yes, I’m sure that’s what you call it.

    “He was disrespectful” is a wonderful excuse for all kinds of harassment and mistreatment by the pigs. Let’s start with mandatory cameras…

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