Police Stop and Search - Recommendations
At the launch of the latest Northern Ireland Policing Board’s (NIPB) Annual Human Rights Report for 2020/21, the ongoing stop and search research of SSESW criminologist Dr John Topping continues to impact on police policy and practice in the country. Contained in recommendation 11 of the Report, the NIPB Human Rights Advisor has requested that the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) publish research they commissioned by Dr Topping around stop and search practice by PSNI. Acknowledging the contribution of his work to understandings of stop and search more generally, Recommendation 11 of the Annual Report states:
"Research undertaken for the PSNI by Dr Topping found that PSNI officers felt pressured to conduct high volumes of searches and that this was in response to the specific culture inside individual states rather than any formal target-setting reasons”.
The recommendation goes on to note that: “The PSNI should publish Dr Topping’s research and provide an official response to its findings”.
John responsed: “While PSNI remains a heavily overseen police service, ‘ordinary’ stop and search powers remain elusive to pin down within the regulatory framework. The powers of stop and search remain controversial both locally for PSNI as well as nationally within a UK policing context. What my research provides is not just an understanding of the volume and outcomes related to PSNI - which remain some of the poorest by UK policing standards - but a window into understandings around why stop and search remains problematic at an organisational level. We await to see if PSNI will follow the Human Rights Advisor’s recommendation to publish the commissioned work”.
John’s other research around stop and search includes Young People’s Experiences of Police Stop and Search Powers in Northern Ireland and The (In)Visibility of Police Stop and Search in Northern Ireland.