Changes to controversial police stop and search laws will be “a great thing”, Duwayne Brooks told BBC London Radio this morning.
Brooks, a Lib-Dem councillor in Lewisham, who ran for Mayor of the borough earlier this year, is the stop and search Advisor to the Deputy Mayor of London.
A former member of the Lewisham Community Police Consultative Group and the Stop and Search Monitoring Group, Brooks said he welcomed changes introduced by Home Secretary Teresa May in a bid to reduce stop and search counts, especially the recommendation to record outcomes each individual incident.
New regulations for stop and search will be introduced by the Metropolitan Police next year, among the first police forces to sign up to the new guidelines.
From next year police in the city must seek approval before stopping people when there are no reasonable grounds for suspicion – a practice known as Section 60. Every outcome of stop and search incidences will be recorded, and locations will be mapped and published online so the public can see where most incidences are occurring.
Brooks said: “I’ve been asking the Met for a number of years about how to get the figures of public order offences after stop and searches. We need stop and search, it’s a valuable tool for stopping crime and for preventing crime, if it removes guns and knives from our streets.”
“The Met and I have sometimes had a good relationship, sometimes bad, I’ve had my encounters that have sometimes gone wrong, but I can happily say things have changed and things are moving forward.”
“What we’ve seen over the last couple of years is a reduction of Section 60s anyway, but the home secretary demanding it is a good thing.”
Section 60 was introduced for just a few hours yesterday, to allow random stop and searches at Notting Hill Carnival following the seizure of offensive weapons.
Last year 27 per cent of stop and search activity in the UK did not involve reasonable grounds for suspicion, which means 250,000 out of one million incidences may have been illegal.
People from ethnic minority backgrounds are far more likely to be stopped than white drivers, and in some areas black people are 29 times more likely to be stopped than any other ethnic group.
Brooks has been involved with issues around race and policing since his best friend, Stephen Lawrence was murdered in the early Nineties, a case which launched decades of debate and investigation into institutional racism in the Met.