A DRAFT report by Scotland's police oversight body buried the fact the rate of stop and searches in Scotland is almost nine times higher than in New York.

The Scottish Police Authority (SPA) document into the controversial policy also deleted multiple references to an academic study that was critical of the single force's use of the powers.

There has seen 400 per cent year-on-year rise in people being stopped and searched in some council areas such as Fife, with particularly criticism of the stop and search of young children.

Loading article content

The SPA published the document following a review of stop and search in May. However, an earlier version of the document had contained a table comparing the scale of the use of the powers by the force, the Metropolitan Police and the New York Police Department (NYPD).

The total number of searches carried out per 10,000 people between April and December last year by the NYPD was 110.6. However, Police Scotland's figure was 979.6. The comparison did to appear in the final document.

The table also showed that the rate of stop and search, per 10,000 individuals, was nearly three times higher for Police Scotland than the Metropolitan Police.

The single force figures included all statutory and non-statutory searches, whereas the London force only carries out statutory frisks. In the final report, Police Scotland's non-statutory searches were stripped out, an omission that ensured its figures were in line with the Met's.

The draft had concluded that stop and search was "significantly higher" in Scotland than for the Met and NYPD policing areas.

An independent report by academic Kath Murray was in the draft, but not the final version. It called for a review of stop and search on children and for clarification of the policy's primary aim.

Graeme Pearson, Labour's shadow justice spokesman, said the SPA was tasked with providing transparency about policing.

He added: "These deletions ... reflect the authority's high-handed approach to the public's right to know."

An SPA spokesman said the report's authors felt a comparison with New York was questionable, and the Met's was more relevant.