Lockdown sees increased use of stop and search

Despite a fall in crime during lockdown, the Metropolitan police force increased the use of what critics say is the most discriminatory form of stop and search during the period.

Data shows that in May 2020, the Metropolitan police stopped and searched 1,418 people under section 60, which allow officers to stop and search people with no grounds for suspicion, which is more than double the number stopped in May 2019.

Police are only supposed to authorise the use of section 60 when there has been serious violence or where there is a risk it may occur in a particular area.

Police in London issued 65 such authorisations in May 2020, a sharp rise from 13 times in April and higher than equivalent months in recent years.

Human rights group Liberty has been campaigning for the repeal of the Coronavirus Act, which it credits for the surge in section 60 stop and searches, saying the legislation created a dangerous array of new state powers. Analysis by Liberty Investigates, Liberty’s independent journalism unit, found that the police powers introduced to enforce the coronavirus lockdown have followed patterns of discrimination shown in stop and search.


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