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Mounting evidence that section 60 is ineffective at reducing violence

The Home Office today released its annual statistics on police use of stop and search. The data revealed that section 60 had an even lower success rate at finding weapons than the previous year. The CJA recently warned in a super-complaint that section 60 is an ineffective power which damages trust and confidence in policing, preventing victims and witnesses from coming forward and making it harder for officers to tackle violent crime.

Commenting on the data, Nina Champion, Director of the Criminal Justice Alliance, said:

“While we welcome the decrease in the use of section 60 in some forces across England and Wales, this was largely due to the pandemic, and it is worrying that other forces increased their use of the power. Today’s statistics add to the mounting evidence that section 60, a power which allows officers to stop and search someone without any reasonable grounds to suspect they’ve committed a crime, is ineffective at reducing violence. Just 0.79 percent of section 60 searches resulted in police officers finding weapons over the last year. Yet despite this, the government recently permanently relaxed safeguards around the use of section 60 following a pilot.

“The government still hasn’t published its evaluation of the pilot, several months after we called for this in an open letter to the home secretary and a freedom of information request. The data released today is especially concerning given the government’s intention to introduce further sweeping stop and search powers in the policing bill. We call on the government to urgently repeal section 60, and we encourage members of the House of Lords to continue challenging the introduction and use of new powers as the bill progresses.”