Commission response to “stricter stop-and-search conditions” announced by the Home Office

Stop and search powers should only be used where there is evidence to support the need for it

08 July 2010

A spokesperson for the Equality and Human Rights Commission said:
 
"We welcome the Government's announcement. While the Government has a duty to fight crime and terrorism, it is not fair or proportionate to indiscriminately stop and search people without reasonable suspicion.
 
"Stop and search powers should only be used where there is evidence to support the need for it, whether it's for counter-terrorism or crime prevention. Measures that aim to protect our lives and freedoms in one way, should not significantly lessen our other liberties unless it is absolutely necessary."
 
Ends

 
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Notes to editors

The Commission wrote twice to the previous government expressing concerns over its counter terrorism policies, specifically the use of body scanners which also referenced stop and search.
 
The Commission published a Stop and Think report in March 2010. It concluded that a number of police forces were using stop and search powers in a way that is disproportionate and possibly discriminatory.
 
The Commission is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006, which took over the responsibilities of Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission.  It is the independent advocate for equality and human rights in Britain.  It aims to reduce inequality, eliminate discrimination, strengthen good relations between people, and promote and protect human rights.  The Commission enforces equality legislation on age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender status, and encourages compliance with the Human Rights Act.  It also gives advice and guidance to businesses, the voluntary and public sectors, and to individuals.