: Police to provide stop and search receipts

Police to provide stop and search receipts

Robert Corr
Victoria

The hard work of the Flemington-Kensington Community Legal Centre in challenging racist policing has borne fruit, with Victoria Police agreeing to implement a pilot program for issuing receipts when exercising stop-and-search powers.

The FKCLC has been lobbying for the introduction of stop-and-search receipts since 2010. In 2013, the FKCLC subpoenaed then Chief Commissioner Ken Lay to give evidence about racial profiling by Victoria Police. Instead, the Federal Court case was settled and Victoria Police agreed to engage in a community consultation process.

The Receipting Proof of Concept program is a direct result of that consultation process. Police and Protective Services Officers will be required where the officer initiates the contact, they request a name and address, and no ‘law enforcement outcome’ such as an arrest or infringement notice is otherwise recorded.

The program began in the Moonee Valley and Greater Dandenong areas in March, and will expand to Boroondara and Mildura from 29 June 2015. The program will finish on 31 December 2015.

Receipting schemes help minimise discriminatory policing by forcing officers to consider and justify why they are initiating contact, reducing unnecessary police stops by creating a paperwork disincentive, and providing the person stopped with information about how to make a complaint.

Some of the potential benefits of receipting will be lost because ethnicity data will not be recorded. The UK’s receipting system, which has now been in place for a decade, mandates the recording of the self-reported ethnicity of the person stopped, allowing statistical analysis to identify potential racial profiling.

Nevertheless, the program is a significant step forward and demonstrates yet again the importance of law and policy reform advocacy by community legal centres.

ROBERT CORR is a Legal Studies teacher at the Mac.Robertson Girls’ High School.

(2015) 40(2) AltLJ 143
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