Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has said that all consensual stop and searches should be brought to an immediate end. The call comes following an announcement from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that Police Scotland is to review the practice with partners SPA and HMICS.
Claiming that trust in police chiefs is at an all-time low Mr Rennie today will say that the common sense approach would be to halt any further use whilst the discredited tactic is reviewed.
Speaking at a meeting in North East Fife later today Willie Rennie MSP will say:
“The level of trust between police chiefs and the Scottish Parliament is at an all-time low.
“Last June they told us no child under the age of twelve would be subject to consensual stop searches by police - with immediate effect. Yet, this week we discovered the police carried on regardless. In fact children were subjected to this practice on more than three hundred occasions in just six months.
“Many people will raise a sceptical eyebrow when police chiefs say they are acting now.
“The best way to restore that trust would be for the police to end the use of the discredited tactic with immediate effect – for everyone and not just those under twelve years of age.
“The police have had ample time to get this right. Now it is time for them to act. My concern is that the police will drag out this review for a very long time.
"We shouldn't have to wait for a review to affirm the widely held opposition to this unregulated and illiberal approach. Police Scotland should agree to scrap consensual stop and searches immediately.
"This would rebalance police powers so that individual liberties were strengthened whilst maintaining public protection. With such big questions over consensual stop and search, it would be too great a risk to our civil liberties to allow it to continue during a review period."