It is very disappointing to read on Common Space that Police Scotland have continued with “consensual” searches of children despite assurances that the practice will stop.
I have previously voiced concerns about this matter with North Ayrshire’s Police and Fire and Rescue committee, namely around how young people could provide informed consent if they didn’t understand their rights. At that time Police in North Ayrshire committed to going out to speak with our young people and inform them of their rights and responsibilities on the matter.
This is an important matter which will clearly require ongoing scrutiny and monitoring. I will write to the Chair of our committee and ask that an update is provided to members both on informing young people of their rights including those not in main stream education and the key recommendations made by the Scottish Police Authority which included:
- improved data collection and analysis by Police Scotland, to make stronger the connection between intelligence, the threat of crime and the stop and search activity undertaken.
- increased public reporting of stop and search data to enhance transparency and build public confidence.
- a shift towards informed consent in non-statutory stop and search to ensure the public are better informed of their rights, including the right to decline.