The London Assembly has called for young Londoners to be involved in stop and search training in order to help build bridges between the public and Met Police.
A new report published today by the Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee praises the Met for cutting the number of stop and search incidents by a third while almost doubling the arrest rate resulting from stops.
When Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe took over as Met Commissioner in 2011 he promised to reduce the 80% of stops which resulted in no action by moving to a more intelligence-led approach to stop and search.
Assembly Members have welcomed the move away from the “heavy handed” use of random stops but say Sir Bernard and his leadership team have yet to convince all officers that a more intelligence-led and “respectful” use of stop powers “is essential to the long-term effectiveness of policing”.
They warn that poor encounters affect the public’s willingness to cooperate with the police, making it harder to make arrests and secure convictions.
To help officers understand the impact of their behaviour on the force’s reputation, AMs say young Londoners should be included in training.
They also want the Met and Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, which sets the force’s strategic objectives, to improve record keeping and to ensure those stopped understand their rights, empowering them to challenge poor practice.
Jenny Jones AM said: “While the heavy handed use of stop and search has seen a welcome decline, 800 people a day are still searched by the Met without any resulting arrest. You have to ask if this is a good use of police time and resources.”
“If those stops are made without good reason, and just as importantly if they are conducted without common courtesy, that’s 800 Londoners, plus their friends and families, with a potential grievance against the police.
“The Met cannot afford to alienate another generation of young people by officers’ heavy handed use of their powers. The leadership at Scotland Yard appears to understand that, now they have to convince every one of their officers to put that into practice.”