Liberal Democrats unveil plans to cut police abuse

Via The Evening Standard:

Armed police, riot squads and officers carrying out some stop-and-search in London would have to wear body cameras under Liberal Democrat proposals unveiled today.

The law and order reform, which will be in the party’s 2015 general election manifesto, will also require police to get a judge’s approval to carry out controversial Section 60 stop-and-searches…

Civil liberty campaigners say Section 60, part of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, has been used in a discriminatory manner, with black and Asian individuals significantly more likely to be stopped and searched.

“Far too many innocent people are subjected to stop-and-search, which is often based on crude stereotyping of minorities,” Lib-Dem Home Office minister Norman Baker told the Standard. “Stop-and-search has led to tension, and it’s something that cannot be ignored.”

Abuse of stop and search has been a long-running Liberal Democrat concern, taken up previously by London figures such as Lynne Featherstone MP and Brian Paddick.

Not only do people suffer discrimination, bad enough as that is in itself, but in addition the whole community suffers from the waste of police time that goes into misdirected stop and search rather than effective action to cut crime.

Details of the Liberal Democrat proposals are over on the party website and include:

We will introduce rules making the wearing of body cameras by officers mandatory for:

  • Section 60 stop and search areas
  • Officers armed with firearms
  • Members of Territorial Support Groups

The policy also includes plans to:

  • Tighten up the rules on stop and search
  • Eradicate the target-driven incentives which can cause the powers to be overused by police
  • Improve safeguards through tighter guidance
  • Ensure that authorisation for area-based Stop and Search is subject to judicial approval

The proposals will be debated at the Liberal Democrat Autumn conference in Glasgow.

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