Stop & Search: Setting the Context in Northern Ireland Dr John Topping School of Social Sciences, Education & Social Work Queens University, Belfast [email protected] @drjohntopping The Chief Constable should ensure that in the exercise of their function, officers have regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of all persons under the age of 18 yearsin the best interests of a child and in compliance with obligations under Article 3 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (para 1.1) If these fundamental principles are not observed the use of powers to stop and search may be drawn into question. Failure to use the powers in the proper manner reduces their effectiveness(para. 1.3) We have processes in place to ensure that stop and search powers are used properly, legitimately and proportionately in preventing and detecting crime (PSNI, 2017 The Detail TV, 29th March) Stop and Search: It Just Works? Only reduces number of disruptable crimes by 0.2% For every 25 crimes recorded, only 1 arrest from S&S No matter the arrest rates, doesnt factor in attrition or clearance Potentially 25% of all S&S does not meet legal threshold
Only 7% arrest rate for PSNI overall vs. 16% for England and Wales (PSNI, 2016; HMIC, 2013; Miller et al., 2000) Changing Stop & Search Profiles: England & Wales, Met Police & PSNI (source: Data.police.uk; PSNI data) Total Stop & Search Eng. / Wales Total Stop & Search Met Police Total Stop and Search PSNI 1189882 1200000 1017542 1000000 904038 800000 541144 600000 472055 400000 359422
387448 289144 200000 35268 0 2011-12 171156 154801 30502 32590 27539 34171 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 Public Impact of Stop and Search whether justified or not, manybelieve that the police routinely abuse their powersThe belief here is as important as the fact (Scarman, 1981:para.4.67)
PSNI Stop and Search rate = 19 per 1000 population VS. Stop and Search rate Eng./Wales = 7 per 1000 population (Home Office, 2016; PSNI, 2017) Key Statistics For PSNI Stop & Search PACE-type powers accounts for 99% of S&S in Eng./Wales, only 71% for PSNI One of the boys questioned whether it had been appropriate to use security legislation to obtain his detailsEnquiries also showed that there had been no reports or intelligencethe investigator concluded that he was not satisfied the searchhad been necessary (OPONI, 2016) 2010/11 to 2015/16 c.24,532 children stopped and searched in NI by PSNI For 2015/16 PSNI figures: presuming majority of children not stopped under security powers, u18s (4588) = 19% of PSNI S&S 15-17 y/o males = 2% NI pop but = 14% of PSNI S&S (3475) i.e. targeted 5 to 7 more than expected Total PSNI Stop and Search 2010/11 2015/16: Outcomes By Age (source: PSNI Data) 70000 60000 TOTAL STOP & SEARCH
NO FURTHER ACTION ACTION* Action Rate = 8.9% 62722 *Other e.g. arrest, reported to PPS, cautioned, community resolution 50000 40000 Overall PSNI PACE S&S arrest rate = 16% Action Rate = 8.4% 30000 57102 Action Rate = 10.6% 20000 20395 Action Rate = 16.6% 10000 0 18679 12 10 2
1 5 years old 4077 5620 3644 433 11 14 years old 1716 15 17 years old 18 25 years old Overview of Key Issues PSNI Stop & Search in NI Lack of evidence of effectiveness for S&S Code of Practice A principles brought into question Need to recognise social costs of S&S Need for more detailed, public data Legal compliance & obligations difficult to monitor minimal vs. maximal compliance Evidence rest of U.K. shows S&S is an operational choice, rather than necessity Ten Year Trend: PSNI Stop & Search Powers 2010/11 2015/16 (source: NIO, 2017) 70,000 Use of ALL legislative Powers 60,000
25,151 24,428 23,990 19,381 35,384 33,677 10088 2008/9 10970 9249 10233 6210 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 *Combinations of powers were not counted pre-08/09 therefore these figures are a count of the number of persons stopped. Figures from 08/09 are a count of the number of times each individual power was used.
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