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Ministers cannot ignore stop and search concerns

May 29, 2014 2:09 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrats have warned the First Minister and theAlison McInnesAlison McInnes Justice Secretary that they cannot ignore concerns over stop and search ahead of the publication of a significant report into the use of the tactic tomorrow (Friday 29 May).

Five months after figures revealed police stop and search rates in Scotland are four times higher than in England, the new Scottish Police Authority is set to publish its first investigative review of policing practice.

In a sign of how damning the findings are expected to be, earlier this week a daily newspaper revealed that the report will show that dozens of people aged over 85 have been stopped and searched in the past year.

Scottish Liberal Democrats have led the charge for improvements to Police Scotland's use of stop and search after it was revealed that three quarters of these searches have very little legal basis, are not based on any intelligence or suspicion, and are not properly recorded.

At Scottish Liberal Democrat spring conference this year, leader Willie Rennie announced that the party will take steps to ensure it is more transparent, accountable and evidence-led.

Speaking ahead of the report being published tomorrow, Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Alison McInnes MSP said:

"For months the Scottish Government has casually dismissed serious questions about how stop and search is being used across Scotland.

"On the SNP's watch, we have seen an explosion in the number of stop and searches. The majority have very little legal basis, are carried out without intelligence or suspicion, and are not properly recorded. Even very young children and over-85s are being treated like hooligans.

"After maintaining they are comfortable with the use of stop and search and ignoring the concerns of human rights organisations and charities, Alex Salmond and Kenny MacAskill should attend this important meeting and hear the facts directly."