MSP’s stop and search concerns

North East Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes
North East Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes

North East MSP Alison McInnes has formally sought support from the Scottish Government for her party’s moves to end the practice of consensual stop and search.

In a letter sent to the Justice Secretary, Ms McInnes said the regulatory regime for stop and search must be strengthened, highlighting warnings that current police practice could be successfully challenged in the courts.

The Scottish Human Rights Commissioner stated again last week that consensual searches are “almost certainly unlawful”.

The letter has been sent as Scottish Liberal Democrat moves to abolish consensual stop and search were formally lodged at the Scottish Parliament.

In the letter, Ms McInnes wrote: “I am writing to provide you with details of how I propose to improve the regulation of stop and search and to invite you to support the amendments I have lodged to the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill today which will end the practice of discredited consensual searches.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats firmly believe that stop and search can be an effective tool in tackling crime and making our streets safer if it is properly regulated. However, it is intolerable in a mature democracy that the power to search an individual without legal cause has been appropriated by the police without due parliamentary scrutiny or approval.”

“My amendments would not limit the already extensive and appropriate statutory powers that police have to search for drugs, guns, knives and stolen property based on suspicion and evidence of a person’s involvement in illegal activity.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats are clear that the police should only be empowered to search someone if they reasonably suspect they are doing something unlawful,” she added.