Abstract

We examine the effects of borough-level search rates on borough-wide attitudes to the police, within London. Analysing year-on-year variations across seven years in 32 boroughs, the study identifies very small but significant positive statistical effects of Section 60 searches (not requiring reasonable suspicion) in the prior year on perceptions of police effectiveness for the general adult population, and very small but significant negative statistical effects of Section 60 searches on perceptions of police respectfulness and responsiveness for black people and people in low socio-economic classes. However, significant findings are substantially driven by one ‘outlier’ borough with a very wide variation in Section 60 searches. Grounds-based searches (requiring reasonable suspicion) show no effects on attitudes.

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