Published On: 15 December 2023Tags: , , ,

A new report out today marks the conclusion of a critical two and a half year investigation conducted by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) in collaboration with the College of Policing (CoP) and the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). The investigation addresses the Criminal Justice Alliance (CJA) super-complaint advocating for the repeal of section 60 police stop and search powers.

The comprehensive report exposes alarming deficiencies in policing, revealing a systematic failure to adhere to legal, best practice, and training standards endorsed by key authorities. Shockingly, numerous police forces are inadequately providing section 60 training, with some lacking any classroom training on stop and search altogether.

Most concerning is the report’s confirmation of a disproportionate number of stops and searches under section 60 targeting individuals from minority ethnic backgrounds. The police forces involved fail to provide clear reasoning for these actions. The report further underscores inadequate child safeguarding measures during section 60 searches, although it stops short of recommending the repeal of Section 60.

This report’s failure to engage with individuals who have experienced section 60 powers is deeply disappointing. The lived experiences of Black, Asian and minority ethnic people should not be marginalised or considered unusual by institutions implementing policies that inflict trauma, distress, and erode trust. The report highlights concerns about the intersection between child safeguarding and race, urging a review of existing protections.

The CJA proposes a set of recommendations, including:

  • repealing Section 60, 
  • adherence to the law and best practices, 
  • prioritising lived experiences, 
  • addressing child safeguarding, 
  • adopting evidence-based policies for serious youth violence,
  • improving police community consultative frameworks, and
  • addressing racial disparities through collaboration with civil society partners

The report’s confirmation that people from minority ethnic backgrounds are more likely to be subjected to section 60 searches is troubling. Immediate action is imperative to rectify the grave issues exposed in this report and restore public trust in policing.

Race Equality Foundation believes that the lived reality of Black, Asian and minority ethnic people and the issues highlighted by the CJA must be urgently addressed. The continued use of section 60 stop and search disproportionately exposes people from these communities to more harm than good, unfair adultification, and means that many people in society mistrust key institutions and are not policed by consent.

Read the HMICFRS report here.