Young black people carry guns to protect themselves from police as they face ‘destructive and damaging’ stops and searches, a peer has claimed.
Calling for an end to ‘perpetual discrimination’, Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick told Parliament that the practice of stop and frisk was ‘despicable and repugnant’ and must end.
The latest figures show there has been a 22% increase in the use of stop and frisks, which disproportionately target ethnic minority groups.
“Those of us who are connected to the communities most affected by the stops and searches, especially black people, will tell you that this is an unfortunate injustice and has destroyed trust in communities and trust in the police, and destabilized those who would be more inclined to support the law so that they are less inclined to take part in it,” said Lord Hastings.
Speaking as the peers discussed issues raised by the Queen’s Speechhe continued: “Stop and frisk is massively, perpetually destructive and damaging, and anyone connected to minority communities knows what it does.
“If the Lords wish to come with me to one of these communities, they will find that the young men and women carry arms to defend themselves against the police. Often, because of the aggravation, they then become involved in a aggravation which then involves a needless crime.”
A recent report by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) found that black people were seven times more likely to be stopped and frisked than white people in the year to March 2021.
Over the same period, British Asians were two and a half times more likely.
In one case, a black boy was frisked more than 60 times between the ages of 14 and 16, and sometimes more than once a day.
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Lord Hastings, who founded the charity Crime Concern and later the social enterprise Catch 22, said while the use of stop and frisks had increased, the majority of cases had not resulted in any further action .
But he said its use had a profound impact on those who came into contact with the police.
“The damage to their psyches, to their sense of Britishness and well-being, and to the identity of their communities, is unprecedented and almost incurable. It must stop.”
He added: ‘The Public Order Bill should prevent it, and it’s time the police realize that this act of perpetual discrimination is despicable and repugnant.’
By contrast, former Met police officer and Tory peer Lord Davies of Gower earlier told the chamber: “While not everyone’s cup of tea, I was delighted to see that stop and search increased by 22% compared to 2019-20.
“Stop and frisk is the only truly effective tool the police have in their crime-fighting toolbox.
“Without a doubt it helps to get guns and drugs off the streets. With the appalling number of murders of young men we have seen in recent years, on the streets of London and other cities across the UK, for through knife crimes, I submit that when legitimately carried out, such stops and searches are operationally necessary.”
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