Police officers in Birmingham and the West Midlands could soon be tracked by satellite navigation systems to monitor whether the use of ‘stop and search’ powers amounts to racial discrimination.
Plans to use GPS to record officers’ every move are being proposed by Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Yvonne Mosquito, who wants to develop a portal allowing anyone to check to “see where stops are taking place” and to make sure ethnic minorities are not being picked on.
Insisting that she wants to “take police officers with us on a journey”, Ms Mosquito has published a 2,200 word article setting out her views on the use of stop and search and the less intrusive ‘stop and account’ powers.
Ms Mosquito, a Birmingham Labour councillor, says that she and police commissioner Bob Jones accept there is a widespread perception that stop and search powers are not being used proportionately by officers.
But they can’t be sure whether this is the case since a lack of accurate data makes it impossible to prove allegations of discrimination, she adds.
While police officers must record every time they stop and search a suspect, there is no requirement to record stop and account requests which are sometimes used for ‘voluntary’ searches, she claims.
Ms Mosquito, who is of Afro-Caribbean heritage, is to host a public summit to discuss stop and search in Birmingham in September.
Stop and search has been a “source of tension between the police and, in particular, black and minority ethnic members of the community”, according to the West Midlands Police and Crime Plan. Mr Jones and Ms Mosquito have promised to introduce new oversight arrangements to make sure the powers are being used fairly.
Ms Mosquito claims that the debate about stop and search is taking place in “a factual vacuum” without enough hard evidence to back up claims of abuse.
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November 18, 2016
Bristol Somali Forum and University of Bristol’s workshop about Somali community issues especially the youth
November 18, 2016