- The following statement was released today by Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda (CURB)
While CURB welcomes efforts to prevent and solve crime, we are dismayed that the Bermuda Police Service has yet again resorted to using a tried and proven ineffective method of policing – Stop and Search.
Stop and Search particularly as allowed under Section 315F of the Criminal Code, ie without probable cause, is a knee-jerk reaction to policing, and has virtually no bearing on preventing and solving crime.
With Bermuda lying at number 15 in the world ranking of states most heavily policed (worldatlass.com), it may be time for the Bermuda Police Service to revisit strategy. The recent announcement that additional police were on the beat this holiday weekend is welcomed, as more police on the beat is a proven deterrent to crime, unlike stop and search, and the community feels safer. But the fact it was 50
additional police is indicative of its excessive numbers.
A recent (2017) UK study (www.college.police.uk) carried out over a decade concluded that “higher rates of stop and search (under any power) were associated with very slightly lower than expected rates of crime in the following week or month.” The study went on to say that “it was estimated that, if total searches were 10 per cent higher in week/month one in an average borough, total crime on that borough would have been 0.1 per cent lower in week two and 0.3 per cent lower in month two.” In other words, Stop and
Search practices had virtually no impact on the incidences of crime, something that CURB highlighted in a Centre for Justice forum some years back.
When Stop and Search numbers in Bermuda reached more than 17,000 in 2011, the highest rate per capita that we could find at the time for any Westernised, not-engaged-in-war country, CURB campaigned heavily for the removal of Section 315F of the Criminal Code, the same draconian section that the Police indicated they would be using on the public now. The number of Stop and Search is now down to 1,100 per annum with crime decreasing, if Stop and Search was an effective tool then crime should have theoretically gone up, when in fact the opposite has happened. (2016 is the last year for which data is available. Perhaps the Police can indeed provide a service and assign some of those excess officers to updating and maintaining rather basic crime data).
We reiterate our position that Stop and Search using Section 315F is excessive and unnecessary and results in racial profiling. Police have sufficient powers under the 2006 PACE Act, which makes provision for Stop and Search with probable cause. Considering the number of complaints CURB received about Stop and Search in 2011, and the ill-will and alienation that this caused in the community, CURB will consider the revival of its campaign against Section 315F.