Searching for change: Scottish stop and search powers

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In numerous countries stop and search powers are an open sore upon police-community relations, one which is increasingly being challenged through the courts. In the USA the discriminatory practices associated with stop and search powers led to the coining of terms such as “driving while black” (more recently joined by “flying while brown”). In 2013, the District Court for the Southern District of New York held, inter alia, that the City of New York was liable for their indifference towards the New York City Police Department’s widespread practice of stop and frisk which violated the fourth and fourteen amendments of the Constitution. In England stop and search practices were a commonly cited factors in the Tottenham riots and a stop, search and arrest power was the catalyst for the Brixton riots. Since 2010, stop and search has come before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in two cases, one from the Netherlands, the other concerning the UK. Other examples can be found across the globe.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEdinburgh Law Review
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


  • police
  • stop and search
  • human rights


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