The Effects of Police and Criminal Evidence Act in English Policing

There were public claims that the operation oppressed some races, by carrying out unwarranted searches. It became evident that the police were exercising abuse of the powers vested on them. The police search operations failed to meet their objectives. However, the police could only carry out stop and search missions in London and a few other towns only because the law did not support the practice in other cities and areas. For some people in London, the stop and search operations compromised the civil rights of the people (Malleson, 2007:121). The main objective of the stop and search operations was to identify individuals who could be in possession of the stolen property. In cities lacking legislation for the stop and search operations, the police relied on the ‘ways and means act ‘that they translated in deceit allowing them to carry out searches. Legally, this act allowed them to search suspects only but the police tended to search for people without valid justification.
In addition, the police also misused the Vagrary act commonly called the ‘sus’ law that allowed them to search people loitering in public places as long as they exhibited intent of committing a crime (Malleson, 2007:122). With increasing complaints from the public, a resolution was critically essential. The majority of the laws favored people and discriminated against others along racial lines, the blacks and the Caribbean’s being mostly affected. Usually, most of those facing oppression lost cases because there were no records of police activities during that era. Neither the ministry nor the police commissioner made it mandatory for the officers to document searches. Consequently, even when the police had mishandled someone, substantial evidence lacked. In the 1970s, the public zealously demanded police accountability in the stop and search operations. The emergence of activist groups demanding a form of regulation in the way police used their power hastened the government to respond appropriately to rectify the situation.