Public Order Bill: Bishop of Manchester supports conditions on stop and search powers

On 28th March 2023, the Bishop of Manchester spoke in support of an amendment to the Public Order Bill tabled by Lord Coaker, which would seek to place conditions on how suspicion-less stop and search powers are used by police:

The Lord Bishop of Manchester: My Lords, I declare my interest as co-chair of the national police ethics committee, but obviously I am not speaking on behalf of it today. I had hoped not to have to speak at all this afternoon but after the contributions of other noble Lords I feel I must say a few words.

I want to get us back to the focus of this amendment. Although I have much sympathy for what I have heard around the Chamber of late, this is an amendment around how police use suspicionless stop and search powers. I wish we had had the Casey report and the report we have just received on the strip-searching of children earlier in the consideration of the Bill. They would have informed our deliberations very helpfully at that stage. However, we have them now. I feel that we need to put something in the Bill that recognises that we have heard what was said by the noble Baroness, Lady Casey, and in the other report that came out in these last few weeks. We need something to say that we are putting down a marker—a signal, as the noble Lord, Lord Coaker, said a few moments ago—that, whatever we have done in other legislation, now we are in a different world.

I am passionate about the confidence that we have as the citizens of this land in our police force, about good and effective policing, and about the country having respect for its police. However, I worry that, if passed unamended, this legislation will further damage that relationship. It will not lead to public order but to further public disorder. Therefore, I support the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Coaker.


Extracts from the speeches that followed:

Lord Paddick (LD): My Lords, I will not repeat what I said last time, but since last time, as the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Manchester, said, we have had the Casey review. The noble Baroness, Lady Casey of Blackstock, is quite clear about what she thinks about stop and search. In that review, she says, as the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Sentamu, has already said:

“The use of stop and search in London by the Met needs a fundamental reset. The Met should establish a charter with Londoners on how and when stop and search is used, with an agreed rationale, and provide an annual account of its use by area, and by team undertaking stop and searches”.

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