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Written records plans unveiled by the police.

Byline: Andrew Baldwin ,

safety leader Chief Supt Phil Read

NEW rights entitling everyone who is stopped by police to ask for a written record have been unveiled in West Yorkshire.

The stop and account procedure was initially set out in a recommendation stemming from the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry report.

The teenager's killing in 1993 highlighted the issue of institutionalised racism in the police.

From last week every member of the public who is stopped by the police can ask for a written record giving the reason or reasons they have been stopped.

The statement must also detail the person's ethnicity.

Previously, anyone who was stopped was only entitled to a written record if they were also searched.

Chief Supt Phil Read, head of community safety for West Yorkshire police, said he was happy to demonstrate his force was open, honest and fair.

He added: "Police stops have proved to be a very effective way of preventing and detecting crimes.

"They are also a valuable means of gathering information to assist with police operations and make our county safer."

When a police officer stops a member of the public he or she will be expected to record:

* The name of the person stopped (or, if withheld, their description)

* The date, time and place of the encounter

* If the person is in a vehicle, its number

* The person's self-defined ethnicity

* The person's ethnicity, as perceived by the police officer

* The reason for the encounter

* The outcome of the encounter

* Whether a record was asked for by the member of the public, irrespective of whether it was a recordable encounter.

Clr Mark Burns-Williamson, the chairman of West Yorkshire Police Authority, said: "It's important to help people understand that this isn't extra bureaucracy for the sake of it.

"The information will help the police authority check that the power is being used in a fair and non-discriminatory way," he added.
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Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Apr 4, 2005
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