Police officers are not adhering to the legal guidance on the power to stop and search, with the result that more than a quarter of searches conducted are "unlawful" according to a review by police watchdog Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).
HM Inspector of Constabulary Stephen Otter said:
Officers are not adhering to the guidance on too many occasions. It has slipped down the chief constables' agenda since the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry report.
The first inspection into the use of stop and search powers has found that police are using the power unlawfully in more than a quarter of instances.
After renewed concern about the way police use stop and search on the back of the 2011 riots, Home Secretary Theresa May ordered Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) to conduct its first ever inspection of the use of the powers in all 43 forces in England and Wales.