| ||Many papers yesterday covered Lord Carlile's comments that white Britons are unnecessarily being stopped and searched in order to give 'racial balance' to stop and search statistics.|
Lord Carlile, the government's Independent Reviewer of Terrorism legislation wrote in his annual report that:
"I have evidence of cases where the person stopped is so obviously far from any known terrorism profile that, realistically, there is not the slightest possibility of him/her being a terrorist, and no other feature to justify the stop. In one situation the basis of the stops was numerical only, which is almost certainly unlawful and in no way an intelligent use of the procedure."
"I believe it is totally wrong for any person to be stopped in order to produce a racial balance in the Section 44 statistics. There is ample anecdotal evidence this is happening. I can well understand the concerns of the police that they should be free from allegations of prejudice, but it is not a good use of precious resources if they waste them on self-evidently unmerited searches. It is also an invasion of the civil liberties of the person who has been stopped, simply to 'balance' the statistics."
The Independent informs that 'Officers in England and Wales used the powers to search 124,687 people in 2007-08, up from 41,924 in 2006-07’, though 'only 1 per cent of searches led to an arrest.'
The Open Society Justice Initiative last month produced its own report on 'Ethnic Profiling in the European Union’.
The OSI Justice Initiative report concludes that, ‘stops and searches conducted under counterterrorism powers in Europe have produced few charges on terrorism offenses and no terrorism convictions to date.
‘It misdirects law enforcement resources and alienates some of the very people whose cooperation is necessary for effective crime detection.'
Lord Carlile is right to question the merits of stopping individuals merely to give the data more of a ‘racial balance’, but the indignation at the practice of stop and search should be squarely directed at the procedure’s ineffectiveness to counter terrorism work and its encroaching the civil liberties of all individuals, not just White Britons.
The Daily Express reports this story as 'Police ‘Stop Innocent White People''. Is that to suggest that non-whites who are stopped are guilty?
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