Changing stop and search in Scotland

authors Megan O’Neill
  Elizabeth Aston
journal EJPS (ISSN: 2034-760X)
volume Volume 5
issue Special issue: Changes in policing to improve service delivery
section Articles
date of publication June 16, 2018
language English
pagina 129
keywords procedural justice, Police Scotland, Stop and search

Compared to other areas in the UK, stop and search in Scotland was on a disproportionately large
scale prior to 2015 and targeted children and young people. Scottish police officers conducted
more non-statutory searches than statutory, putting into question the legitimacy of this tactic. In
response to external pressures, a revised approach to stop and search was developed and piloted
in the Fife Division of Police Scotland from June 2014 to January 2015. Our evaluation of this pilot
found that while some elements were an improvement on current practice, the use of non-statutory
searches and disproportionate searches of children continued. Since our evaluation, practice in stop
and search in Scotland has undergone dramatic change. This paper will discuss the contribution
of the Fife Pilot and our evaluation to changes to stop and search in Scotland. It will consider the
relevance of procedural justice to developments in this area of service delivery, which will be of
benefit to practitioners and policy makers internationally.