How effective is police stop and search (PACE act 1984)?
This assessment will focus on Section 1 of The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (Stop and Search powers). I will look at the use of stop and search before the Macpherson report and after the Macpherson report and compare how it has changed. The use of stop and search powers allow the police to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour, and to prevent more serious crimes occurring generally in public places like a Football match. A police officer can ask what you are doing, why you’re in an area and/or where you’re going. They also have the power to stop and search you if they have ‘reasonable grounds’ to suspect you’re carrying; illegal drugs, a weapon, stolen property or something which could be used to commit a crime, such as a dangerous weapon. You can only be stopped and searched without reasonable grounds if it has been approved by a senior police officer. This can happen if it is suspected that; serious violence could take place, you are carrying a weapon or have used one or you are in a specific location or area. However, you don’t have to answer any questions the police officer asks you. The Police officer will note down seven details these include; Ethnicity, Objective of search, Grounds for search, Identity of the officer carrying out the stop and search, Date, Time and Place. However being searched does not mean you have been arrested, unless any of these factors apply. Sir William McPherson carried out an inquiry in 1999 following an investigation of the murder of Stephen Lawrence. The 18-year-old A-Level student was fatally stabbed in an unprovoked attack as he waited for a bus in Eltham, south London, in April 1993. Nobody, at the time was convicted of his murder. However in 2006 the Metropolitan Police's Acting Deputy Commissioner, ordered a cold case review that led to the convictions of Gary Dobson and David Norris in 2011 they were found guilty by an Old Bailey jury after a trial based on forensic evidence. Scientists found a tiny bloodstain on Dobson's jacket that could only have come from Mr Lawrence. They also found a single hair belonging to the teenager on Norris's jeans. Both men have had previous run-ins with the law; Dobson was jailed for five years in 2010 for drugs trafficking. He is among a small number of men to have been tried twice for the same crime (double jeopardy) after the Court of Appeal quashed his 1996 acquittal for the murder. Norris was convicted in 2002 of a separate allegation of racially threatening behaviour. Allegations of incompetence and racism against Metropolitan police officers that were in charge of the case sparked the original inquiry as did two internal police inquiries which acquitted the Metropolitan itself. In relation to the stop and search there is no actual change in the stop and search powers for the police. However records of all stop and search operation have to be published, and a copy of the record can also be given to the person involved if requested therefore there can be no discriminative reason to stop someone as the police have to provide written reason to the suspect and the police force. The 1981 Brixton riots and the subsequent Scarman report were key factors in the passage of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE). It provides the core framework of police powers and safeguards around stop and search, arrest, detention, investigation, identification and interviewing detainees. The aim of PACE has always been to establish a balance between the powers of the police in England and Wales and the rights of members of the public.
The immediate effect of Macpherson saw a decline in the use of stop and search. In London, stop and searches fell from 180,000 in 1999/00 to 169,000 the following year. Nationally, the number of stop and searches fell by 21% and then a further 16% from 1998 to 2000. By December 2000, representatives of rank and file...