An academic who defended Police Scotland's frisking policy on the eve of a critical report into the tactic submitted a research proposal to the single force days after his article was published.

 

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Professor Ross Deuchar, an Assistant Dean at the University of the West of Scotland, backed the police in a daily newspaper four days before Kath Murray's findings into stop and search came out.

"The political hype masks the true facts about what is actually happening in Scotland," the criminologist wrote.

He added: "My experience of working with Police Scotland has shown that stop and search is an effective strategy for taking offensive weapons off the street and for recovering drugs and alcohol."

Internal emails show that Deuchar liaised closely with Police Scotland about the article.

On January 10th, a week before Murray's report, Deuchar emailed Police Scotland to say he had contacted a newspaper about carrying a stop and search piece in the "next five days".

He wrote: "In the meantime I will crack on and get something written and run it by you over the weekend or on monday. The main challenge will be getting it into the press on time but I think I have enough contacts to make this happen."

Three days after the piece was published, Deuchar sent Police Scotland another email: "I am attaching an indicative proposal for the S/S [stop and search] research and wondered if you think this is useful for bringing along to the meeting on Tues."

Deuchar received a positive reply: "Hi Ross, s/s proposal received well by ACC Wayne Mawson and he wants to meet you next week!"

Although Mawson wrote that he was "very interested" in the proposal, the project did not go ahead.

Jackie Brock, the chief executive of the Children in Scotland organisation, also expressed support for Police Scotland ahead of the Murray report.

She provided a positive quote for use on a single force press release on stop and search, which came out on the morning of Murray's findings being released.

According to internal emails, Brock sent the quote to the Scottish Government before forwarding it to Police Scotland.

She wrote: "Happy to be quoted as follows if this helps."

A University spokesperson said: "In line with good academic practice, and in the spirit of collaboration and partnership, Professor Deuchar makes research partners fully informed of any opinion pieces or related articles that he writes.

"As would be expected of a leading Scottish criminology researcher, Professor Deuchar was aware of Kath Murray's research but had no prior disclosure of her findings or the publication date of her report.

"All articles written by Professor Deuchar on the subject of 'stop and search' provided an objective and balanced analysis of the subject, based on the insights of his research, highlighting the positives and negatives of the strategy. It was fully appropriate therefore for him to send an indicative research proposal to Police Scotland along with other agencies and funding bodies."

A spokesman for Children in Scotland said: "As an organisation, our vision is to make Scotland a world leader in securing the wellbeing of every child. Our organisation is founded on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and , as such, the safety and wellbeing of children and young people is, and will continue to be, a priority for Children in Scotland."