News & BlogThe Director of the CJA Comments on the Crest Advisory Report
The Director of the CJA Comments on the Crest Advisory Report
2nd December 2022
The findings of the important ‘Forgotten Voices’ report by Crest Advisory provide more evidence that not only do Black children find stop and search traumatic, but that overuse of the power, especially without reasonable grounds, can do more harm than good.
In summer 2021, the Criminal Justice Alliance launched a super-complaint about the use of suspicion-less stop and searches, which do not require reasonable grounds, and called for the specific power (‘Section 60’) to be repealed. In the complaint we highlighted our concerns about the lack of publicly available data on the ages of people stopped under this discriminatory power, where 17 times the number of Black people are stopped compared to White people. Since then, the police have published data showing that children make up 30 percent of these searches.
The Crest Advisory report continues to demonstrate the ongoing, serious safeguarding concerns that children are stopped and searched by police without an appropriate adult present, and that they can feel humiliated and traumatised by the experience. Over a quarter of Black boys reported that they would not call the police if they were in danger.
Crest states that there will be ‘grave implications’ if children do not trust the police enough to protect them or if they are in danger. It found that Black children’s lack of trust hampers police efforts to gather information, carry out investigations, detect crimes and provide community reassurance, as well as efforts to keep them safe. It concludes that it is up to the police to rebuild trust and provide better protection for Black children, and we agree with Crest that urgent action must be taken.
We are awaiting the outcome of our super-complaint and understand it is due to be published in Spring 2023. We hope the investigating bodies – the College of Policing, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Independent Office for Police Conduct – take note of this new evidence and make recommendations so that Black children are protected and safeguarded, and the police can more effectively prevent and investigate violent crimes.
Nina Champion, Director of the Criminal Justice Alliance