A few days ago I was having a chat with a couple of other crusties, the current, persistent, furore over Stop and Search was high on our agenda.
In my opinion driving a car or riding a motor bike and getting breath-tested goes with the ‘fun’ of driving and riding. If you haven’t had a drink or just the one, it’s a bit of an inconvenience but it normally ends there. If you’ve had a drink and you fail the roadside test the scenario is very different, but the risk to other road users is neutralised.
Stop/Search is very similar in my view. Walking down the road innocently and you happen to pass through a high-crime area, or an area renowned for recent stabbings. It is possible that you will get stopped and searched. Possible not probable. The officers have to have sound reasons (grounds) for Stopping and Searching somebody. There can and will be occasions when ‘grounds’ exist in relation to a perfectly innocent individual e.g. wearing clothing of a certain colour, a particular style of hat, carrying a certain type of bag etc etc. The officer(s) may stop and search you, hopefully in a civil and polite manner and explain WHY they have taken this action. After only 5 minutes or so (hopefully) you are told that you are free to go and off you trot, hopefully none the worse for the experience.
Not very different to being stopped, given a breath test (negative) and off you go again.
In relation to Stop/Search there is a whole load of fuss being made by certain sections of the Community about people being stopped unnecessarily. It is unfortunate that is for sure, but as long as the officers have acted courteously and in accordance with the law what is the harm? Nobody ever died from being Stopped, Searched and nothing found. People have certainly died at the hands of weapons e.g. huge Zombie Knives carried through the streets, the government in the form of Thersa May has issued an edict to reduce Stop and Search so many of those murderous weapons go undetected.
Everybody will form their own opinion about Stop and Search and a negative result i.e. nothing found. It has happened to me and I was treated courteously, nothing was found and I was cheeriy allowed on my way. I got it, but the opposition to it is very vocal. With Intelligence-led, targeted Stop and Search the Metropolitan Police anticipates that a positive outcome i.e. something found, will occur in about 20% of all instances.
Where is the opposition to breath tests? Statistics for breath tests that do not necessarily arise out of an accident are not easy to come by, but I did find some from a few years ago.
For the years 2009 and 2010 there was a total of 1,747,295 breath tests administered in England and Wales. A total of 177,164 were either Positive of Refused. 11% This means that 89% were negative. Where is the outrage at 89% of drivers passing their breath tests and the Action Groups demanding that Breath Tests are drastically reduced. How would Theresa May have looked back in 2014 if she had publicly demanded a drastic reductiuon in breath tests given by the Police of England and Wales.
Maybe certain factions of Society should take a hard look at their stance. Is Stop and Search REALLY that different to Drink/Drive. Not conducting a Stop/Search because you have been told not to can end in a fatality just as easily as not sdministering a breath test and a drunk driver goes on to have a fatal accident. One is socially acceptable and the other isn’t. WHY?