Eastwood MSP questions stop and search stats

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Police carried out 7,508 stop and searches in East Renfrewshire between April 2013 and March 2014, according to figures obtained by Ken Macintosh MSP.

The Eastwood representative requested information in response to concerns voiced by a young constituent, who said he had been stopped several times both in his car and out walking.

The local figures were released following headlines that people in Scotland are four times more likely to be stopped than those in England, and twice as likely as people in London.

Ken Macintosh said: “I find these figures quite staggering. I entirely support the police in doing their job and keeping us all safe, but East Renfrewshire has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.

“Now we find that the police are stopping and searching, on average, 20 times a day. It is very difficult to accept that these searches can all be evidence-led, as is supposed to be the case.

“My worry is that instead of making us feel more secure, this approach will poison relations between the police and young people in the area and create an atmosphere of mistrust.”

The MSP will raise the issue in parliament and with the chief constable — he added: “I believe people in East Renfrewshire want a police service, not a police force.”

Chief inspector Angela Carty, area commander for East Ren, defended the use of stop and search methods in tackling community priorities.

She told The Extra: “The communities have told us that drugs and antisocial behaviour are a priority for them and we work towards tackling these alongside our partners and the community itself.

“The use of stop search remains one of a number of tactics employed in delivering a service to communities in East Renfrewshire and in Scotland.”

CI Carty added that initiatives such as the campus officer programme “demonstrates Police Scotland’s understanding of the need to build on strong foundations of trust and engagement with young people”.