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Stop and search 'racial profiling' by UK police on rise

London, Sun, 15 Jan 2012 ANI

London, Jan 15 (ANI): 'Racial profiling' has increased over the past year in the UK, and black people are 30 times more likely than white people to be stopped and searched by British police, a new analysis has revealed.


Analysis by the London School of Economics (LSE) and the Open Society Justice Initiative revealed that during the past 12 months a black person was 29.7 times more likely to be stopped and searched than a white person.


That figure was 26.6 the previous year.


Researchers said that the findings, based on government statistics, represent the worst international record of discrimination involving stop and search, the Guardian reports.


The figures refer to the use of 'section 60', the contentious police power that allows officers in the UK to stop and search people without reasonable suspicion and which was cited as an aggravating factor behind the August riots.


Dr Michael Shiner, of the campaign group StopWatch and the Mannheim Centre for Criminology at the LSE, pointed out that 'fair and accountable' policing is required.


"More than ever, we need policing to be fair and accountable. All too often impacted communities have complained about abusive police tactics only to be ignored or, worse still, told they are wrong," the paper quoted Shiner, as saying.


"Searches that do not require individual suspicion are particularly divisive and should be conducted sparingly, if at all," Shiner said.


"The very existence of section 60 should be critically reviewed and, if it is found to be necessary, increased safeguards and strict criteria should be put in place, including judicial authorisation, before the power can be mobilized," he added. (ANI)


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