Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP today hailed the publication of the first ever code of conduct for police stop and search as a victory for the party’s campaign against the intrusive, industrial-scale use of the tactic.
The code was tabled at Parliament today and, if approved by MSPs, will come into force in May, coinciding with the abolition of so-called consensual searches. Both were part of the stop and search reforms won by the Scottish Liberal Democrats following a two-year long campaign.
Last week, the Scottish Liberal Democrats revealed the total number of stop and searches conducted by Police Scotland has fallen by 93% compared to 2013/14, with so-called consensual searches decreasing by 99.6%.
Mr McArthur commented:
“Thanks to the code won by the Scottish Liberal Democrats, for the first time ever, the stop and search procedure, police’s responsibilities and peoples’ rights will be clearly defined in law. So-called consensual searches will be abolished in May.
“Following the revelation that the number of intrusive and unjustified searches being conducted by Police Scotland has fallen by 99% since we first drew attention to this gross overreach, Scotland will at last have a code in place preventing the return of industrial scale stop and search.
“MSPs will now look at the fine detail of the code to ensure the right protections are in place, the right information will be recorded and no more abuses can occur.
“This is welcome news for the officers who were under pressure to conduct searches they didn’t believe in and for everyone who agrees with Liberal Democrats that any police search must be justified and proportionate.”