Firstly, credit to Whitesnake for having lyrics good enough to inspire my post’s title!
It feels like I’m having a bad case of de ja vu. I feel as though I’ve read these headlines before. I feel as though these allegations have been made before. Guess what? They have.
If you Google “Police stop and search”, it doesn’t show you the law, the definition, the explanation and the powers. The top search results are these:
“Racial bias in Police stop and search getting worse, report reveals”
“Stop and search: Black people ‘nine times more likely’ to be targeted by police than white people”
“David Lammy says police stop and search is ‘unjust’ and ‘entertains a racist fantasy’”
If you look hard enough, and you REALLY want to see it, there’s actually some Google results that are worth reading. The trouble is, they don’t make swanky headlines. They don’t fit an agenda. They don’t get written by the people who want to mislead the public and skew the facts.
An example –
“A police officer has powers to stop and search you if they have ‘reasonable grounds’ to suspect you’re carrying:
- illegal drugs
- a weapon
- stolen property
- something which could be used to commit a crime, such as a crowbar
You can only be stopped and searched without reasonable grounds if it has been approved by a senior police officer. This can happen if it is suspected that:
- serious violence could take place
- you’re carrying a weapon or have used one
- you’re in a specific location or area”
It does not matter if you are white, black, mixed race, a Teletubby or the next Inspector Morse, if we have the grounds, we can, and we will, search you. That said, if we don’t have the grounds, we can’t, and we won’t.
This new version of groundhog day, these same skewed headlines, come at a time when the Police are already struggling. Struggling to maintain public confidence, struggling to attend priority calls within the allocated response time, struggling to resource public events, struggling to catch the serious offenders, struggling to safeguard the most vulnerable. We are struggling because of the cuts and the change in demand in our job. We know the public don’t always trust us, don’t think we are good enough, and don’t do a good enough job. We really could do without these headlines, these inaccurate comments, at a time where we need the public to have confidence in us, because we can’t do our job without your help.