Changing stop and search? Met examines psychologist's research on improving controversial tactic

Tap above to watch video report by Ria Chatterjee


The Metropolitan Police said it would examine research from a psychologist on improving the controversial and often divisive tactic of stop and search.

Speaking to ITV News London Dr Coral Dando believed there were better ways of treating people after they were stopped in the street.

She said officers should follow two important steps; first to build a rapport with the person they have stopped and then ask simple questions to gather information.

Dr Dando referred to the case of Ryan Colaco who said he was pulled over by police more than 25 times.

"The face mask with Arsenal on the side - I would pick up on that as my 30 second rapport building opportunity. After 30 seconds we ask questions that commit you to a version of the truth then we test that version of the truth," said Dr Coral Dando.

"We'd ask how you became an Arsenal supporter - through family, friends or where you live. I would then look for information I could test - so if you said you went to school by Arsenal's stadium you've committed yourself to a version of the truth. I'd pick up on that and ask what school it was and I'd expect him to know the name," she added.

Dr Dando said in Ryan's case police failed to build a rapport, saw him as a threat and failed to ask questions to help work out if their initial concerns were correct.

Former Met Police Superintendent Leroy Logan said video footage revealed police had a conscious bias and Ryan reinforced their stereotype of a person of a minority group. Mr Logan said Ryan looking nervous would be enough to make officers suspicious.

"As a result of that they can justify their questioning and searching the vehicle so it's full on racial profiling," Leroy Logan said.

In a statement the Met Police told ITV News London:

The MPS trialled training in 2014 based on similar principles to Controlled Cognitive Engagement and at that time it was found not to be overly effective in stop and search encounters. We would however welcome working with Ms Dando to revisit it and consider if it can be utilised more effectively.

We are currently trialling enhanced stop and search training in the West Area BCU which is yet to be evaluated, in addition to ‘Police Behavioural Detection’ training which, was delivered to the Violent Crime Task Force and that is due to be evaluated in January.

Met Police statement

Read more: 'Act of violence': Former officers criticise Met over man 'stopped 25 times'