Happy to be stopped and searched

Former Community Insp Donald Jenks
Former Community Insp Donald Jenks

People in Levenmouth have been generally positive about Police Scotland’s controversial stop and search policy.

That was the view of the area’s retiring Community Inspector, Donald Jenks, after he was questioned about the high number of cases under the initiative in Fife.

Mr Jenks told Fife Council’s Levenmouth area committee that, while stop and search generated much discussion, people had been generally supportive, mainly because he believed they expected police to challenge those in public who gave them reasonable cause to suspect a crime.

Fife Division was piloting a stop and search protocol for Police Scotland and Mr Jenks said Fife always made good use of consensual and legislative search powers to tackle crime.

Chief Superintendent Garry McEwan had also recently told the safer communties committee that almost 10,000 people in Fife were stopped and searched over a 12-month period and around 25 per cent of these were positive for a combination of alcohol, drugs, stolen property or weapons.

Mr Jenks was asked by local councillors if, locally, officers were finding it a useful method or if they were meeting resistance. He said people tended to be positive about it, with a success rate of one in four. Searches – which people were entitled to refuse – were being recorded, he added, which was probably a more accurate measure of the level of activity.

“The approach to search is, and always has been, to search the right people in the right places and at the right time,“ he added. “Whenever using search powers, we will act with integrity, respect and fairness.”