Police quiz 200 people every day

Reporter: Our Lobby Correspondent
Date published: 14 August 2008

MORE than 200 people a day are being stopped by Greater Manchester Police demanding they account for their behaviour, the Government has revealed.

The use of “stop-and-account” — where officers ask people what they are up to — has increased by 43.1 per cent in only one year, according to the Ministry of Justice.

Across Greater Manchester, 77,549 people were stopped in 2006/7 compared with 54,188 the year before. Nationally there was an increase from 1.4million to 1.86 million in the same period.

The stop and account searches have been surrounded by controversy because of the amount of police time taken to fill out the relevant forms — an average of seven minutes a form.

This means approximately 12,152 hours of police time was taken up filling paperwork in 2006/07 — up from 10,359 hours the year before.

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said: “Stop and search and stop and account are two vital tools we use to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.

“They are a response aimed to support our communities and feedback from independent advisory groups shows that people appreciate their use and find them reassuring.

“GMP uses an approach based on intelligence and officers receive considerable training to ensure the powers are used properly and professionally, treating those who have been stopped with respect. The public will rightly expect us to continue in order to fight crime.”
The stop-and-account statistics were disclosed for the first time as part of the annual publication of ethnic monitoring data for the criminal justice system.