In May 2021, Criminal Justice Alliance brought forwards a super-complaint on the harms caused by s.60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act. The complaint outlines that Section 60 is harmful, ineffective, inadequately scrutinised and unnecessary. Along with national and grassroots organisations, they are calling for the government to repeal the power.
The report ‘Section 60: More harm than good“, which sets out the super-complaint, also recommends how community scrutiny of wider stop and search could be made more effective.
EQUAL contributed to and informed the report, providing supporting statements based on our work to understand the impact of Section 60 on communities including our #TimeToTalk event on ‘Section 60 and the (mis)use of police powers’; through our engagement with the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and with FOI requests to forces.
Former Head of Policy, Shadae Cazeau commented:
We, amongst several other criminal justice organisations, provided evidence to support a supercomplaint submitted by the Criminal Justice Alliance in May 2021 on the need to abolish s.60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which grants police forces the power to search people without suspicion in a particular area over a particular period of time.
s.60 searches are no longer being used for their original purpose: to tackle football hooliganism. Instead, these searches are more often used to respond to knife crime incidents with a shockingly low 1% success rate. Surely, we should be asking why they are still being used to no real end?
Not only are they ineffective, but s.60 powers create further feelings of mistrust amongst black and ethnically diverse communities; have a traumatic impact on those exposed to them and lack accountability and proper scrutiny.
The police have enough power to apprehend criminals without the use of s.60 and we fully support the Criminal Justice Alliance recommendation that the power should be repealed, especially in light of the government’s failure to provide a proper evaluation before its rollout in 2019.
You can download the ‘Section 60: More harm than good’ report, which sets out the super-complaint and submissions from national and grassroots organisations here.