Joint research by Edinburgh Napier and University of Dundee contributes to positive report
The HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) has praised Police Scotland’s work with researchers for the part it played in helping reform stop and search across the country.
The inspectoral body’s phase two report has acknowledged significant improvements made by Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority to stop and search procedures, with all 23 recommendations from its initial report in March 2015 found to have been successfully implemented.
Within the report, HMICS also highlighted the role that academic research played in helping the force identify good practice of stop and search in a local context.
In 2015, researchers from the University of Dundee and Edinburgh Napier University evaluated a stop and search scheme being piloted by the Fife Division of Police Scotland.
Funded by The Scottish Institute for Policing Research and the Scottish Police Authority, Dr Megan O’Neill, from Dundee, and Edinburgh Napier’s Dr Liz Aston led a team investigating the impact of a new approach to stop and search which aimed to improve levels of approval amongst the public by better informing them of the process, the reasons why searches are being carried out, and the rights of the individual.
Despite the findings praising Fife Division for their efforts to make stop and search more effective and address public concerns about the measures, a number of recommendations were also made, including the ultimate end to consensual stop and searches.
HMICS’ initial phase one report also recommended a step change from consensual searches, with the new report finding that 96% of stop and searches are now made using legislative powers. The recording of seizures and the publication of stop and search data online are also among the positive steps taken.