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'Unlawful' use of stop and search

More than a quarter of stop and search records examined did not include sufficient grounds to justify the lawful use of the power, police watchdog Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) found in its first inspection of the power.

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Only 9% of stop and searches lead to arrest

Officers spend an average of 300,000 hours conducting stop and searches, but on average only about 9% of the one million incidents recorded result in an arrest, a review has found.

Police are able to conduct stop and searches under 20 different powers, but the most common laws used are:

  • The Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE)
  • The Misuse of Drugs Act
  • The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act

The PACE act code of practice sets the standards intended to protect the public from the incorrect and unlawful use of these intrusive powers.

Under PACE forces are required to make arrangements for stop and searches to be scrutinised by the public, however the police watchdog found that less than half of all police forces in England and Wales comply with this.

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