Police 'must record vehicle stops'

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Karel Prinsloo/AP

Police forces must make official records of drivers they stop at the roadside, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has said.

The recommendation has been made due to concerns that officers are disproportionately targeting minority ethnic drivers.

Unlike searches of individuals on the street, police are not currently required to make any record of vehicles they have pulled over. However, police chiefs were criticised by HMIC for failing to understand the impact of these searches.

Stephen Otter, the inspector who led the research into HMIC's report, said: "Too many police leaders and officers still don't seem to understand the impact that the use of powers to stop and search people can have on the lives of many people, especially young people and those who are from black and minority ethnic backgrounds," reported the BBC.

"This is disappointing because getting it wrong can lead to resentment, anger and, in time, a loss of trust in the police."

The results of a large-scale public survey suggested that drivers from ethnic minorities were more likely to be pulled over than white motorists, and were less likely to be given a reason as to why they had been stopped.

The poll of 10,094 people, including 7,501 drivers, showed that 47 per cent had been in a vehicle stopped by police. Of those around eight per cent were white, compared to around 12 per cent belonging to ethnic minority groups.

The report went on to criticise the use of stop and search powers in general, and noted that 90 per cent of those stopped were not prosecuted. The use of strip-searches on suspects was also not recorded, despite being the power being used frequently.

Meanwhile, home secretary Theresa May has pledged to tighten the laws surrounding stop and search if its use did not become more targeted.

Do you think police need to be made more accountable for their decisions in stopping vehicles? Let us know in the comments section below.