Concern over disproportionate stop and search of children

Date: 31st January 2014
Category: Civil Rights and Freedoms

Together raised concern that the use of stop and search by police on children is disproportionate and based on a desire to meet targets, rather than an intelligence-based assessment of risk.

This would be unacceptable and calls into question whether children and young people's rights, such as the freedom of movement and peaceful assembly (as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child), are being ignored.

In a letter reflecting on a recent report by the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research which Together released last week, it was recognised that stop and search is a necessary part of policing but that it needs to be undertaken on a proportionate basis and not subject children to unnecessary and arbitrary intrusion on their daily lives. The report notes that around 500 children aged 10 years and under were stopped and searched by the police in 2010.

Together called on Policy Scotland and its Policy Authority to review urgently the current use of stop and search and any targets being set at a divisional level and that any review should involve children, young people and their communities. The extent to which the use of stop and search is fulfilling fundamental human rights principles should be considered within a review, including whether further statutory protections would be helpful to maintain children and young people's rights.