Thursday, February 07, 2008

Good news on police stop and search forms

I am so pleased that a report written by Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the chief inspector of constabulary in England and Wales, into police reform is going to recommend scrapping or radically redesigning stop and search forms. See the BBC report here anticipating the report being published later today.

When Jane Kennedy and I went out on patrol with the police in March last year I wrote about these awful forms saying "Firstly was the inordinate amount of time the police had to spend filling in stop and search forms, or whatever they are called. You have to ask not just for personal details but itemise every item of clothing someone is wearing, their ethnic background, all sorts of things and it is a long thin form which is unsupported so it flops about and there is nothing to rest on. The text is tiny and most of the writing has to be done in the dark. Jane was concerned by this bureaucracy and vowed to bring it up with the police minister. It is clearly a hindrance to the policing work as they have to spend time standing round filling them in even when it is clear that the people they have stopped are innocent of any wrongdoing. This stops them getting back out on the street. I can see that it is important that the police are held to account over any possible racist behaviour in terms of the people they choose to stop, but not to the extent that it gets in the way of active policing by delaying them for so long so often during the shift."

I look forward to reading what Sir Ronnie has to say.

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