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Warning on police search tactics

POLICE tactics on using stop-and-search powers risk "alienating a generation" and an overhaul of their use must be ordered, MSPs have been told.

It comes after research by Edinburgh University revealed that hundreds of children under the age of 10 were targeted and more than 26,000 youngsters aged 14 and below had agreed to the police checks voluntarily.

At First Minister's Questions yesterday, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie questioned Alex Salmond about whether he was comfortable with the police tactics towards young people. He replied: "What I am comfortable with is that 70% of the stop-and-searches were consensual in terms of the regulations which were put forward.

"I am comfortable with the fact that, as Police Scotland has indicated, many of these stop and searches achieved the required result in terms of finding potentially offensive weapons or other aspects of behaviour.

"The thing that I am most satisfied with is the sharp reduction in offensive weapon carrying, and also in other serious crime."

Mr Rennie said: "I am genuinely disappointed that the First Minister is so blase about this encroaching police tactic without checks and balances.

"I think 750,000 people getting stopped and searched, 80% getting no result and young children being targeted is something the First Minister should be concerned about."

The report warned that rising use of the tactic risked infringing human rights and could lead to public disorder. He said this practice risked the "alienation of a generation."

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

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