Mayor warns stop and search can lead to ‘resentment, anger and loss of trust’
PUBLISHED: 17:00 08 July 2018
A former Ipswich mayor has told of the frustration and humiliation he and his family suffered as a result of stop and search powers.
Glen Chisholm, who was born in Ipswich, to an English mother and father of Jamaican descent, said he and friends and been searched so many times because of their appearance while growing up “it even became a running joke”.
While Mr Chisholm said he had fewer experiences as an adult, he said his biggest concern had been its effect on his son Clinton.
In a blog post, Mr Chisholm said the incident happened just before his son’s 17th birthday five years ago when he was stopped in a shop by two officers and an “extremely aggressive security guard”.
“My son was humiliated in front of customers and was frankly terrified by the experience,” he added. “My son had done nothing wrong and while vindicated after the search the whole experience did affect him. I had always told my son that he had nothing to fear if he’d done nothing wrong. But those words rang hollow as he was being publicly humiliated and had done nothing wrong.”
Mr Chisholm, who has volunteered as a special constable, said he understood stop and search could be a useful tool when intelligence-led, but questioned whether it was effective in lowering crime, as used presently.
He said some people did not understand the impact stop and search had on young black and ethnic minority people.
Suffolk Constabulary’s latest figures show black and ethnic minority people were still nearly four times as likely to be searched as white people, despite a fall in the rate of disproportionality.
The Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality welcomed the reduction, which it attributed on its work with the independent stop and search security panel, but said more needed to be done.
Mr Chisholm called for fairer use to prevent it causing “resentment, anger and a loss of trust in the police”. “Suffolk police have come a long way but more needs to be done to reassure communities, educate the public and build trust,” he added.
Suffolk police’s report on stop and search noted that the rate of disproportionality had reduced - particularly when the effect of London gangs was removed.
Police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said Suffolk had a good record with stop and search.
The Community Stop and Search Group meets on July 25 at 6pm at ISCRE’s offices.
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