Monday, September 15, 2008

Police officers under pressure to hit stop and search targets - stop schoolchildren and invent names


MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville has demanded an explanation from the Government and Transport Police after the Evening News revealed officers were under such pressure to hit stop and search targets that they stopped schoolchildren and invented names to boost their figures.
The SNP member for the Lothians has written to Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, UK Transport Minister Tom Harris and the British Transport Police.

She has asked for a response to Constable Edmund Burke's claims of tricks used to hit targets in the wake of the Glasgow Airport terrorist attack.

He said there was so much pressure on officers to "get numbers up" on searches that he and his colleagues stopped schoolchildren and even invented names.

Ms Somerville said: "The use of stop and search powers is an extremely sensitive area and it appears the British Transport Police forgot that."

Ms Somerville said she wanted assurances the pressure described by Constable Burke was no longer being applied to officers, and that children were not being stopped without good reason.

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