Police Scotland Stopped & Searched THOUSANDS of Children

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Police Scotland stopped and searched thousands of children between the ages of eight and 12 last year, according to data obtained by BBC Scotland.

Officers carried out 2,912 searches on children in that age group between April and December 2013.
The figures were revealed ahead of the Scottish Police Authority publishing a review of the stop and search tactic.
Police Scotland said the tactic had contributed to a reduction in violence and anti-social behaviour
The force said a total of 640,699 searches were carried out across the 12 months to the end of March.
The figure is three times higher than the 222,315 searches conducted by London’s Metropolitan force, which polices a population greater than that of Scotland.
You can explore all the stop and search data using the SEARCHABLE DATABASE developed by BBC Scotland.

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BBC Scotland has created a searchable database of the stop and search data
The SPA has recommended Police Scotland should review its policy on stop and search. The force has set up a new unit to draw up guidelines and monitor its practices to ensure the tactic is employed in the same way across the country.
The Scottish Police Authority has been reviewing the data since January to assess the effectiveness of the tactic, which allows officers to search people for drugs, alcohol, stolen goods and weapons.
The figures obtained by BBC Scotland, through a Freedom of Information request, showed that about 16% of the searches involving children in the eight to 12 age group yielded positive results.
Force watchdog
Of these, 79% were consensual, where the child searched agreed to be searched and an officer did not require reasonable suspicion.

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Among young people, 16-year-olds were most commonly stopped (38,132), followed by 17-year-olds (32,409).
The figures also showed people in Glasgow were more than 10 times as likely to be stopped and searched by police than those in Aberdeen.
There were 3,027 searches per 10,000 people in Glasgow City compared with 297 searches per 10,000 people in Aberdeen.
There appeared to be no targeting of ethnic minorities in police stop and searches, with most involving Caucasian males. The data, for April to December, also revealed:

● A quarter of all 519,213 stop and searches yielded positive results
● 70% of all searches were consensual
● Searches were made for drugs (220,786), alcohol (167,730) and weapons (84,756)
● The most searches were conducted in Greater Glasgow (201,558), Ayrshire (82,501) and Lanarkshire (81,584)
● The most searches (69,837) were conducted in August 2013
● A single officer was responsible for conducting 949 searches
● 84% of searches were conducted on males
● Searches also resulted in the discovery of more unusual items such as wildlife (40) and fireworks (1,252).

INFORMED CONSENT
The review of stop and search comes in the wake of Home Secretary Theresa May announcing an overhaul of the practice in England and Wales over concerns searches were used too widely and targeted ethnic minorities.
The tactic was most prevalent in the old Strathclyde Police area, but has been extended nationwide following the creation of the new Police Scotland force.

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Officers carried out more than half a million searches for drugs, alcohol, stolen goods and weapons.

The SPA review said it was difficult to find a rationale for the roll-out of stop and search throughout Scotland.
Authority member Brian Barbour said: “Our primary conclusion is that stop-and-search as a tactic does contribute to a reduction in violence and reducing anti-social behaviour, but the extent of that contribution is unknown.
“We could find no causal link between the reduction in violence and the volume of stop-and-search activity.”
He added: “There are questions around proportionality and consistency of approach in the age profile of those searched, particularly those under 24, over 80 and indeed under 10s where it is questionable why children under 10 would be searched on a non-statutory basis.”
Scotland’s Children’s Commissioner Tam Baillie said it was wrong that children and young people were being subjected to stop and search on such a large scale.
He said: “They account for over 30% of all searches in Scotland and the vast majority are non-statutory.
This high incidence is concerning and is discriminatory. I am very disturbed that a substantial number of children aged nine or under are being subjected to stop and search.
“There is no justification for this practice being used on children under eight years old, as they cannot give informed consent and are below the age of criminal responsibility.”

‘Intelligence-led’  {Intelligence led? wot? like Special Branch / MI5 intelligence?}

Police Scotland Chief Constable Stephen House said stop and search “has contributed to violence and anti-social behaviour reductions across Scotland”.
However, he accepted that “processes and communications can and should be improved”.
He added: “We will take all appropriate steps to ensure that stop and search is carried out as part of our engagement with the public, to detect weapons, drugs and alcohol and to deter people from carrying these in the future.
“We will also ensure that it is done in an intelligence-led way with respect for the rights of individuals so that the public have confidence and trust in the policing service that we offer.
“While I am confident that we have gone a considerable way to strengthen our stop and search procedures, the recommendations we have just heard contained in the report provide an opportunity for us to further address concerns and to review, develop and improve our processes and communications even more.
The Scottish government said stop and search was “one important tool police use to prevent and detect crime and protect citizens and communities”.
A spokesman added: “The use of stop and search contributes to the fact that crime is at an almost 40 year low, violent crime has fallen by half since 2007, homicides at their lowest rate since records began and crimes of handling an offensive weapon are down by 60 per cent since 2006/07.
“We will continue to make sure the people of Scotland get the best policing possible and today’s SPA report is a welcome contribution to this.”
Speaking ahead of the publication of the SPA’s review, Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Alison McInnes MSP said there had been “an explosion” in the number of stop and searches.
“The majority have very little legal basis, are carried out without intelligence or suspicion, and are not properly recorded,” she said.

Breakdown by police force & month

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BBC NEWS


WHY DOES POLICE SCOTLAND FEEL THE NEED TO STOP & SEARCH CHILDREN AT ALL?


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NEW fears for civil liberties as officers swab hands of young people for traces of illegal substances.

Clubbers were told to take drug test before getting in to venue or they would be barred from club

POLICE are again accused of trampling over civil liberties after surprising ­clubbers with snap drug tests, we can reveal. Customers queuing outside clubs have been approached by officers who swab their hands for traces of illegal ­substances. Those who don’t co-operate are refused entry while those who test positive are questioned and face being searched and arrested.

Politicians and licensed trade bosses yesterday criticised the tactic as heavy-handed and a breach of young people’s rights.

Police Scotland have been under sustained criticism after a huge ­escalation of stop and search.

Last weekend, officers turned up at Club Tropicana in Aberdeen with a drug-detection machine called an itemiser and a sniffer dog.

They tested 100 people on the ­Friday and Saturday and a CCTV van monitored the club’s entrance.

Club boss Tony Cochrane said he was given an hour’s notice before police arrived and swabbed people in the queue.

Officers failed to register any ­positive results for illegal drugs including cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and heroin.

Cochrane said: “I ­support an anti-drug policy but I feel this latest action by Police Scotland is a step too far in regards to civil ­liberties.

“Officers stood at the club entrance and took sample swabs on customers entering with an expectation we should refuse admission to ‘non-compliants’. 

When they returned the second night we managed to speak to a duty sergeant who was sympathetic to some of our points. We appreciate the work the police do but they’re achieving nothing with this policy.

“People going for a night out are being made to feel like potential criminals.”

“Anyone who saw a huge team of police with a sniffer dog and a CCTV van would think the club is a trouble spot, which is far from reality.”

“Police found nothing in two nights and said they won’t be back for few months.”

“I’d like to know why they feel the need to come back at all. They’re wasting manpower and resources on making law-abiding citizens feel like suspects.”

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Officers swab hand of a youngster.

Last week Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said the Scottish Government would ban police from stop-and-search unless they had ­“reasonable grounds” to believe a crime was being committed.

Officers have been able to perform consensual searches if a person agrees to co-operate. But a report by human rights ­lawyer John Scott QC said the policy was “of questonable lawfulness and legitmacy with poor ­accountability”

Stop-and-search figures in ­Scotland are the highest in the UK at 600,000 in a year, with many of them young people.

Police Scotland were told to rein in searches over fears that officers were driven by meeting targets rather than fighting crime.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie yesterday criticised the stop and swab tactic.

He said: “Carrying out such tests without a suspicion of a crime is a heavy handed and indiscriminate tactic by the police. It’s why we stood firmly against industrial scale stop and search. Police Scotland need to review this tactic and explain how this helps address drug taking.”

Graeme Pearson, Scottish Labour justice spokesman and ex-head of the Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency, added: “Where police spring tests upon people and there’s a ­pressure to co-operate, it adds ­concern about the giving of consent and whether operations like this are appropriate. Whether or not there’s ­reasonable suspicion, it doesn’t ­create the kind of co-operative effort that one expects in community ­policing.”

Officers in Aberdeen were the first in Scotland to use a portable drug tester in 2008. The £25,000 device is designed to indicate whether a person has picked up drugs or handled a significant ­quantity.

Four men were charged with drug offences after the machine was used in Union Street in May.

Highland and Islands independent MSP John Finnie, convener of the Scottish Parliament’s cross-party group of human rights, said: “It would be interesting to understand the legal basis for these approaches. “It’s important that citizens co-operate with police but I’m ­struggling to understand what can be achieved by this approach.”

Solicitor Janet Hood, an expert in licensing law, added: “This sort of action seems very similar to Police Scotland’s stop-and-search policy which has been criticised across the whole of Scotland. The force have to consider whether they have the right to carry out this type of operation. Officers should approach ­– someone if they suspect an offence is being committed. I’ve heard that police claim ­customers like this sort of action because it makes them feel safe, but I doubt that is the case.”

Police Scotland claimed stop and swab had contributed to Aberdeen winning Purple Flag status in 2013 for ­its safe nightlife. Inspector Lorna Ferguson said: “The itemiser is a visible ­deterrent to those seeking to enter pubs and clubs in possession of drugs. Where positive results were obtained, the patron was asked to account for the results and either searched or refused admission where appropriate.”

Police Scotland said: “These operations are carried out regularly across the city centre’s licensed premises as part of Police Scotland’s duty to keep people safe. They are set up in advance and done with the full co-operation of the premises’ managers and staff”

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