Profile picture
Peter Kirkham @Peter_Kirkham
, 35 tweets, 8 min read Read on Twitter
This sort of simplistic, anti-police nonsense from @HackneyAbbott is why Labour don't get support from the police despite their manifesto commitment to bring back 10k officers and the great work of @LouHaigh and others... >…
She refers back to the 80s. What happened under different legislation 35yrs ago tells us NOTHING about how S&S is done today.

She refers to police doing "random" S&S as if that is a fact. It ISN'T. It's a lie. There is no "random" S&S. The vast majority are conducted under>
>ordinary S&S powers and require individual reasonable grounds to suspect which are recorded and can be challenged. Even those conducted under the "special" s60 S&S power which doesn't require individual grounds to suspect rent used "randomly". They can only be used in a defined>
>area (usually small) for a short period of time (hours) if specifically authorised because of serious violence. And they can only be used the find weapons & good practice is to focus their use on those who are likely to have some connection with that violence (which could >
>include demographic factors - if the serious violence involved two local gangs of young men then young men, rather than elderly ladies, would OBVIOUSLY be the focus).

She refers to the majority of S&S being for drugs TOTALLY ignoring the fact that the majority of the serious>
>violence & #KnifeCrimeEpidemic on the streets is associated with street drug dealing, County Lines, etc. (just look at how often knives, guns & other weapons are found with drugs too). And she ignores the fact that the vast majority of drug searches are on subjects suspected >
>of involvement in street drug dealing and other crime and associated "gangs". Grounds for drug searches are far more easily obtained (especially cannabis, due to it's distinctive smell), particularly as the arrogant criminals who now believe they rule our streets openly smoke >
>cannabis in public places. So officers seeking to prevent, deter, disrupt and detect street crime, drug dealing & serious violence often have the opportunity to use drug searches as a tactic. Is she REALLY suggesting they should not? (The Met could help themselves here, by >
>recording on their S&S records when the drug search is on a subject suspected of involvement in more serious crime - suggest it to the boss @MPSHackney!). She also ignores the fact that most of the other drug searches are done following complaints from the public of anti-social>
>behaviour involving drug use in public places. Is she REALLY suggesting complaints of ASB causing distress & concern to HER constituents should be ignored by the police? Seems odd that an MP supports those causing problems for her community rather than the law-abiding majority.>
>Perhaps she (or her opponents) should make this clear to them before the next election... (It is also odd that an MP suggests that public use & dealing of cannabis and other drugs shouldn't attract the attention of police seeing as it is still a serious (5yrs imprisonment) >
>criminal offence. If she thinks cannabis should be legalised or decriminalised (and I would tend to agree with her) then she should argue her case in Parliament & get the law changed. Not suggest the police unilaterally ignore it...

She quotes several anti-police, anti-S&S >
>groups & campaigners (like StopWatch) but fails to mention any of the police's arguments in support of S&S... Hardly the balanced approach we are entitled to expect from an MP...

And she quotes as absolute fact the disproportionality statistics as if they are incontrovertible >
>tablets of stone. They are not. The stats are shot through with sources of error & inaccuracy (such as the fact the baseline comparator used is the Census population of the area - are only people on the Census in Hackney ever S&S'd in Hackney???). So the disproportionality may>
>not be what is quoted. It may not even be there at all. I'm absolutely sure in reality it's FAR less, though I suspect there'll be some. This is well known. There's even some (not many, there's no £££s or kudos for research showing the police are NOT racist...) academic>
>research over the last 25yrs confirming it. But the campaigners ignore it. And the anti-police, anti S&S academics behind most of the research "proving" disproportionality dismiss it. And, disgracefully, Theresa May has deliberately ignored it because it didn't fit with her>
>anti-police narrative whilst Home Secretary (… ).

And even if there IS disproportionality, she and the other anti-police, anti S&S campaigners attribute it solely to police being racist despite the fact that there are several other valid explanations>
>(not least disproportionate involvement of different demographic groups in the types of crime (street crime & violence) for which S&S is a commonly utilised tactic). Disproportionate involvement in street crime & drug dealing is a fact. It's an inner city crime. It's committed>
>primarily by young males living in the inner city, especially at the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum. And those young males in London especially are from BAME groups. That is a simple demographic fact. And it means those young males involved in street crime and drug>
>dealing in inner London (and now branching out to other places via County Lines) are disproportionately black. (And build on top of that the cultural & other influences - "Roadman", drill, etc - having same effect). So S&S targeted on those crime problems (and the associated >
>serious violence) will INEVITABLY disproportionately impact on young black males. In simple terms, those responsible for the slaughter of young black males are other young black males. It is pointless the police trying to stop it doing S&S on elderly white grandmothers...) >
>By taking her simplistic, ill-informed, superficial approach to policing, driven by her deeply held anti-police and anti S&S prejudices, Diane Abbott seriously undermines & demoralised the police as they seek to stem the slaughter of young men from HER COMMUNITY, often in HER >
>constituency. By doing so she condemns more of them to death as the #KnifeCrimeEpidemic. She appears to be fighting their cause but, through ignorance & prejudice, she is not. They deserve SO much better.

That "better" is for her to dig FAR deeper into the very complex issues>
>surrounding S&S and to move the narrative away from the ultra-simplistic shouting of "You're all racist bastards" at the police. That has not moved things on for thirty years. It will not move things on now. It is an incorrect diagnosis of the issue and so no amount of further>
>treatment will have any effect. The police now are NOT racist to any significant extent & so they can't improve things by stopping being something they are already not.

What IS needed is focus on the things which DO still need attention. I'll mention those on another thread!
None of what I've said about @HackneyAbbott 's fundamentally flawed analysis of the use of S&S should be taken as suggesting that everything about it as currently used is perfect. It isn't. The "how" of stop & search - how it is done, the interaction between police & subject, >
>could often be better. Both parties could listen to each other better but, as they have the power, the police need to work harder on making sure they communicate the grounds as well as possible. The communication often tends to be pretty formal & focused on the legal >
>requirements. It would be better if some officers remembered the person they were S&S-ing was a person & tried to understand their perspective on the interaction better. Some officers seem to find being asked why they're doing the stop a challenge to their authority. It isn't. >
>And they have to provide the info by law anyway! Records are still not completed well in too many cases. This undermines the argument for S&S and is easily resolved: complete S&S records properly EVERY time! And there IS undoubtedly scope for some aspects of institutional >
>racism (stereotyping, ethnocentricity, lack of cross-cultural understanding, etc) to be having an effect. Objective grounds for S&S are required... But the conversion of those into a "suspicion" is inevitably subjective - the same grounds may be "suspicious" to one person from>
>one background and not to another. To minimise this effect we need to have a nuanced debate with frontline officers and we need them to actively & willingly engage in that debate. We're NEVER going to achieve that if, like Diane Abbott, we start by shouting "you're all racist!">
>at them - they'll just (totally understandably) switch off if we do (I know, I've seen it happen many, many times and I've also seen what can be achieved if you take a different approach - most cops are only too happy to think about and use tactics and techniques that make >
>them more effective as police officers and create less hassle for them as they try to do their jobs keeping people safe.

Finally I should point out that although I have directed these comments at her, Diane Abbott is not alone in this. I have directed the response to her as>
>she was the author of the article. But David Lammy and several other BAME politicians take exactly the same simplistic, superficial view of S&S. They are facilitated in this by the constant stream of statistics, analysis & reports from StopWatch and other anti-police, anti-S&S >
>campaigners like Lee Jasper, Stafford Scott, Ken HINDS & others. They're not interested in looking deeper into complexities as simplistic stuff suits their purpose perfectly.

We need our politicians and media to challenge them & dig deeper if we are EVER to move the issue on.
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Peter Kirkham
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member and get exclusive features!

Premium member ($30.00/year)

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!