Letter: Race and the police

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The Independent Culture
Race and the police

Sir: Among the Lawrence report recommendations, I had hoped to see a review of the powers of the police, particularly stop and search powers, for which there appears to be evidence that these are being regularly abused. Of all the malign influences on police/minority community relations, these are among the most significant.

Given the action that had to be taken not all that long ago to get rid of the old "sus" law, mainly because it aroused perceptions of racialist abuse by the police, it is small wonder that stop and search has taken its place for members of minority communities. It must now be urgent to examine how beneficial the powers have been in deterring and suppressing crime, and to consider whether such benefits are sufficiently substantial to outweigh the highly negative effects which the daily abuse of these powers has had on the health of our society.

That the police should have powers to stop and search anyone they see whenever they see fit is repellent to those who value our civil liberties.

JOHN L Y SANDERS

Bideford, Devon

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