The Rise and Fall of Suspicionless Searches
40 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2016 Last revised: 29 Apr 2016
Date Written: January 1, 2016
This paper examines the extraordinary rise and fall of police powers to stop-and-search without suspicion in public places in England and Wales. Suspicionless searches – authorised by s.60 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 and s.44 Terrorism Act 2000 – rose to a peak of 360,000 in 2009 and then declined radically to fewer than 1,000 in 2015. The paper seeks to explain changes in the use of suspicionless search powers drawing on a theory of the relationship between law and policing by examining the police ‘working environment’ comprised of three structures: law, politics and work. The paper concludes with a consideration of attempts to reform stop-and-search powers and the implications for the future of suspicionless searches.
Keywords: law, police powers, policing, suspicion, stop-and-search
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