Call us today on 0141 552 9193
GLP News

News, Comment & Opinions on the latest legal stories

Glasgow Law Practice White

Practice made perfect

Buried Statistics Show Stop and Search by Police Scotland Nine Times Higher Than by NYPD

The Scottish Police Authority discovered that the rate of searches carried out by Police Scotland was nearly nine times higher than the rate in the New York Police Department , but did not include the startling comparison in its final report.

There were also references to an academic work which criticized the policy – these were also cut from the report.

The stop and search has gained momentum across all parts of the country after the creation of Police Scotland. Fife, and other local authority areas have witnessed a 400% year-on-year rise in the number of frisks.

Further controversy has arisen surrounding “consensual” searches on young children.

The SPA, launched the review of policy last year and published its findings in May. The published report did not contain many major recommendations or criticisms. The draft did however, contain a table comparing the scale of stop and search in the areas covered by Police Scotland, the Metropolitan Police in London and the NYPD.

The table was based on the total number of searches carried out per 10,000 people between April and December last year. The table revealed the rates were three times higher for Police Scotland than the Met. For NYPD, the figure was 110.6. For Police Scotland, it was 979.6 – nearly nine times higher.

However, the NYPD comparison and never made it into the SPA’s final documentand in the final report, Police Scotland’s non-statutory searches were stripped out – this omission gave the appearance that its figures were in line with those of the Met.

Copies of the draft report were given to the Scottish Government and Police Scotland for comment. The SPA stated that neither body queried the NYPD figures.

The omissions have raised concerns about the SPA’s performance and impartiality. The SPA’s role is to hold Police Scotland to account, but it is funded by the Government. Labour’s shadow justice spokesman, Graeme Pearson, said:

“The SPA is supposedly tasked by [Justice Secretary Kenny] MacAskill with providing transparency in all things policing in Scotland. These deletions from the report reflect the authority’s high-handed approach to the public’s right to know.”


Contact us


Call us today on 0141 530 5081 for a free confidential chat. There’s no obligation. Or you can use our online enquiry form and one of our solicitors will contact you as soon as possible.