Change is a slow process.
The Vagrancy Act 1824 is nearly 200 years old and one of its most hated provisions gave Police officers the power to search people on the flimsiest of grounds.
The use of the “sus law” was one of the identified triggers for the riots in the early 1980’s. The introduction of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 was designed to remove the unlawful use of the power. The first two sections setting out how the power to stop and search individuals was to be used.
Here we are in 2017 and the pace of reform appears to have slowed to a stop.
In a recent report, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabularies set out its findings on the attempts of forces to change the discriminatory use of stop and search.
In 2014 the Government had set out guidelines which were designed to
“achieve greater transparency, community involvement in the use of stop and search powers and to support a more intelligence-led approach, leading to better outcomes, for example, an increase in the stop and search to positive outcome ratio.”
There are still forces not adhering to this – Derbyshire apparently the slowest to reform.
We still see clients on a very regular basis who are not afforded the basic protections of the law. Despite the introduction of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act over thirty years ago, it seems that there are still abuses of power occurring and an institutional reluctance to reform old practices.
If you have been affected by police misusing their powers you can contact our expert team of Actions Against Police Solicitors. You can call us on 0333 321 4580 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.