This week we saw the stop and search summit hosted by the Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands Bob Jones.
There were over whelming statistics surrounding the disproportionate use of stop and search especially towards the BME community and in particular the African Caribbean community.
It was interesting to note that these figures went unchallenged and despite this, there was no apparent substantial explanation.
Indeed the protection of our communities is absolutely key and there is a place for this provision; however the main issue is not the provision it is the application of stop and search powers by police officers.
The key factor in my view that was not answered or indeed an attempt given to acknowledge the issue was the application by officers, a lot was made of the new GPRS system which can identify the locations of stop and search and also the eradication of paperwork as everything will be done by transmission link instead.
However this does not tackle the underlying issue of how it is administered by officers in some cases one person's search by up to 4 officers at once people are handcuffed indeed the Midlands today reports on these showed a man in a jewellery shop been held down against the counter and police officers rifling through his pockets A key question is was that particular incident justified and the person involved was never charged.
Issues surrounding the de-humanisation and humiliation of those subjected to stop n search be it justified or not was not acknowledged by West Midlands Police, yet alone being acknowledge. One would question in many cases is excessive force being used, are proper explainations being given. Is a a case of guilty until proven innocent and why so many black and asian people?
West Midlands police have announced that they are to retrain all officers in stop and search however there seems to be an apparent link to stop and search and the BME community in the disproportionality of its administration. There is no strategy to deal with this the issue of disproportionality; there a key statement I made at the conference which was should a police officer that racially discriminates against the public they are there to protect you do not retrain that officer you sack them, this would send out a clear message that West Midlands Police will not tolerate that type of behaviour. Notwithstanding this the feeling I got in a nutshell was that we were still being offered excuses and not positive solutions the key element here is that Bob Jones and his deputy Yvonne Mosquito have made it clear that they want to see changes as the police are there to protect and serve the community. Furthermore, The Police & Crime Commissioner acknowledged it was his duty to hold the Chief Constable to account and he was accountable to the electorate who are the people of the West Midlands.
The conference comes on an outbreak of knife crime were young people have lost their lives, this even questions whether or not stop n search really in an effective way forward or does it need revamping?
It is a simple case of watch this space and see where we go the recent case of Dean Davis the man that was subjected to in my opinion some socking shocking treatment, by the Police has been investigated and it is my understanding that the results of that investigation will be available shortly.
Should the authorities really be committed to change lets wait the result of this investigation in the meantime we want to hear your about anyone's experiences with regard to stop and search and please free feel to email us.
Take a look at this Stop-watch UK Video on Stop n Search