Do Police Powers of Stop and Search in Scotland strike a fair balance between the rights of the accused, or those subject to searches, and the rights of the state?

Author:Kerry Armstrong
Position:Student at the University of Dundee (4th Year LLB Dual Qualifying). The author would like to thank Alexander Rapis for his excellent comments and suggestions.
Pages:1-7
1
Dundee Student Law Review, Vol. 4(1), No.1
Do Police Powers of Stop and Search in Scotland
strike a fair balance between the rights of the
accused, or those subject to searches, and the rights
of the state?
Kerry Armstrong
Introduction
John Alderson states that strengthening the security of persons and property and ‘facilitating
human dignity through upholding and protecting human rights’ are among the chief
objectives of the Police in a free, permissive, and participatory society.
1 By regarding these
objectives one can see two of the main aims of criminal procedure in Scotland: to uphold the
authority of the state in attempting to ensure the security of citizens, and to protect the rights
of the accused, ensuring that justice is done fairly and without discrimination. However, these
two aims are not always balanced and this can be demonstrated by examining police powers
of stop and search in Scotland. This article argues that whilst recent reforms to police powers
of stop and search have seemingly equalised the balance between these rights, there are
certain statutes that confer excessive powers on the state and that demonstrate an imbalance
in specific places.
Stop and search
The working definition of stop and search used by Police Scotland is ‘any encounter between
a Police officer and a member of the public, which results in that individual being searched
Student at the University of Dundee (4th Year LLB Dual Qualifying). The author would like to thank
Alexander Rapis for his excellent comments and suggestions.
1 John Alderson, Policing F reedom; A Commentary on the Dilemmas of Policing in Western
Democracies (MacDonald and Evans, 19 79), ix

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