Police Scotland to end stop and search on children under 12

Date: 19th June 2014
Category: Civil Rights and Freedoms

Police Scotland announced that it is to end the practice of consensual stop searches on children under the age of 12, to a Holyrood Committee on 19th June 2014.

Police Scotland also announced a pilot scheme in Fife in which the parents of all children subject to stop and search would be given a letter explaining why.

There were 640,000 stop searches in 2013, with 25,000 involving children. The Scottish Police Authority (SPA) recently published 12 recommendations aimed at improving the targeting, effectiveness and transparency of the use of stop and search tactics by Police Scotland.

In January 2014, 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. Together produced a letter which 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 letter was referred to during a debate on stop and search at the meeting of the Scottish Parliament on 2nd April 2014.

As a State Party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), the UK is obliged to protect, respect and fulfill Articles in the Convention including the right to freedom of movement and peaceful assembly (Article 15) and the right to non-discrimination based on any status including age (Article 2).