For a period of about twenty-four hours after the release of the Home Secretary’s report on the ‘Tackling Knives Action Programme’ in December 2008, the police tactic of using stop and search as an effective means of catching criminals seemed to finally to shaken off the controversy that has clung to it since criticism by the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry in 1998. Stop-and-search works, the government said. But within a day of ministers claiming a victory in its fight against a weapons-culture amongst young people, accusations were mounting of manipulation of the statistics. If stop and search is genuinely effective, critics asked, why spin the evidence? Where were the real figures to back it up the claims for its use?
This article by Estelle du Boulay appears issue 33 of Agenda, the magazine of Race on the Agenda (ROTA)