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Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice (4th edn)

Andrew Sanders, Richard Young, and Mandy Burton
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date: 03 December 2021

2. Stop and searchlocked

2. Stop and searchlocked

  • Andrew Sanders, Andrew SandersProfessor of Criminal Law and Criminology, University of Birmingham
  • Richard YoungRichard YoungProfessor of Law and Policy Research, University of Bristol
  •  and Mandy BurtonMandy BurtonProfessor of Socio-Legal Studies, University of Leicester

Abstract

This chapter, which examines the powers of the police to stop and search people provided by s 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE), considers whether stop and search is racially discriminatory; the constraints and controls on the exercise of discretion; and the impact of stop-search powers. It argues that the police still primarily act according to working assumptions based on ‘suspiciousness’, i.e. hunch, incongruity, and stereotyping on the basis of types of people, previous records, and so forth. The police sometimes discover crime when acting upon their instincts, but such suspicion as they have is seldom in relation to any particular offence, and therefore rarely is it ‘reasonable’ in terms of the due process norms of s 1 of PACE.

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Note: An update has been made available on the Online Resource Centre (July 2010).

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