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Evaluating and Revising Police Stop and Search Practices in Scotland

O'Neill, Megan; Aston, Elizabeth


Megan O'Neill


James F. Albrecht

Garth den Heyer


Compared to other areas in the United Kingdom, stop and search in Scotland was on a disproportionately large scale prior to 2015 and overwhelmingly targeted children and young people. Scottish police officers conducted more non-statutory searches than statutory, putting into question the legitimacy of this tactic. In response to external pressures, a revised approach to stop and search was developed in the Fife Division of Police Scotland and was piloted from June 2014 to January 2015. An evaluation of this pilot program found that while some elements were an improvement on current practice, the use of non-statutory searches and disproportionate searches of children continued. Since that evaluation, practice in stop and search in Scotland has undergone dramatic change. This chapter will discuss the stop and search journey in Scotland and developments to this aspect of service delivery from within a procedural justice framework, which will be of benefit to practitioners and policymakers internationally.

Online Publication Date Feb 16, 2021
Publication Date 2021
Deposit Date May 6, 2022
Publisher Springer
Pages 31-51
Book Title Enhancing Police Service Delivery: Global Perspectives and Contemporary Policy Implications
Chapter Number 3
ISBN 978-3-030-61293-1
Keywords Stop and search, Police Scotland, Procedural justice
Public URL
Publisher URL