Andy Burnham: ‘A lot more needs to be done to win back trust on stop and search’

  • Mayor given tough grilling at Man Met meeting
  • Speakers say stop and search does not lead to a reduction in crime
  • Claim that young people are 'afraid of being stopped by the police'

A panel of professionals came together at Man Met last night to discuss the controversial use of stop and search by the police.

Statistics suggest stop and search as a method of attempting to prevent crime is embedded in racism, discrimination and prejudice.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Manchester, was the main speaker on the panel.

He said that he was “anti-racist to the core of my being” and expressed sympathy when audience members showed their distrust at stop and search technniques. 

Andy Burnham, stop and search, GMP police
Dr Patrick Williams, right, with panel members

Dr Patrick Williams, lecturer in criminology at MMU, who was also on the panel, stated that “a black person is nine times more likely to be stopped and searched”, adding: “In Manchester, black and Asian minorities are seven times more likely to be searched.”

He pointed to research carried out at University of Manchester showing stop and search reduced crime last year by just 0.01%. 

Roxy Legane, founder of Kids of Colour, alleged that she knew of one young peron who had been spat on by GMP officers, of others being searched on a daily basis, and with some even “fearing for their lives” when being stopped.

A police officer in the audience stated that it was not possible for officers to turn off their body cameras. 

Mr Burnham asked for details of the alleged spitting incident so that he could look into it.

Last year alone, 4,800 stops and searches were made in Manchester, a rise of 80% according to Dr Williams.

“Why is it, after decades, that me and my brothers are more likely to be stopped and searched”

Following some stern questions from the audience, Mr Burnham said that “if change is needed, then change should be made.”

However, he defended stop and search as a policing tool, saying “last year, only five complaints were made about stop and search” and said GMP reported 23% reduction in knife crime last year.

Mr Burnham was given a tough grilling by the audience, with one person asking how he proposed to make changes within the police. He was accused of passing the question to another speaker and being unable to answer.

Another member of the audience told Burnham he was “really hurt” by his response to questions and told him he could “do better than that.”

Mr Burnham ended by saying that “a lot more needs to be done to win back trust. Clearly, there is none there at the moment.”