Stop and search rules need an overhaul to allow selection, says mayor
Friday 08 March 2013
The current stop and search legislation needs to be changed so police can select who to search, Utrecht mayor Aleid Wolfson says in an interview with the Telegraaf.
At the moment, stop and search procedures involve a search of everyone in an area decreed to be risky.
‘But this takes a lot of police time and the results are disappointing,’ Wolfson told the Telegraaf. ‘It also infringes the privacy of a lot of innocent citizens. This lack of selection makes it an ineffective measure.’
Wolfson would like a change in the system to allow the police to select who to search, under the supervision of a judge. Police would have to justify their decisions to the official, which would stop discrimination, the mayor said.
‘Do not forget that police officers have intuition and experience and often know very well who is walking round with drugs or weapons,’ Wolfsen told the paper.
His comments follow an evaluation of the stop and search policy operating around the Breedstraat in Utrecht, where drugs use, prostitution and petty crime are a serious problem.
Between May and December last year, 630 people were searched but just three weapons were recovered, the paper says.
Parliament on Tuesday passed legislation allowing local mayors to impose 12-hour stop and search controls if they fear public order may be under threat.
The proposal was passed by an overwhelming majority of MPs. D66 voted against, saying stop and search operations are a serious infringement of personal privacy.
The new rules will also allow police to search 'on and in the body' of people they arrest, website PrivacyBarometer.nl stated.