skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 118781 Find in a Library
Title: Reality and Rules in the Construction and Regulation of Police Suspicion
Journal: International Journal of the Sociology of Law  Volume:17  Issue:2  Dated:(May 1989)  Pages:185-206
Author(s): D Dixon; A K Bottomley; C A Coleman; M Gill; D Wall
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 22
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper examines some problems in the attempt at legal regulation of police suspicion in stop and search in Great Britain.
Abstract: Certain difficulties have arisen from the requirement of "reasonable grounds for suspicion" in stop and search. These should be seen as a by-product of specific factors in the legislative emergence of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE). One of the problems is the stereotyping of black youth as a group, leading to the extensive use of stop and search powers against them. This issue became an attempt to exclude stereotyping as an adequate ground for suspicion, but failed to take into account the "incongruity procedure," where individuals attract suspicion not because they accord to a stereotype, but because they fail to fit into variable contexts of activity, place, and time considered to be normal. This use of suspicion is highly valued in police culture. Another reason why the PACE power of stop and search fits uneasily with the practice of policework is that PACE treats stop and search as an event rather than as a social process. Suspicion is not just a preparatory stage of detection of a specific crime: it is also central to more general police duties of surveillance and crime prevention. Other problems are discussed. The rules at present governing stop and search have not achieved the stated objectives and have harmed the relationship between the police and sections of the public. 60 references.
Main Term(s): Search and seizure laws
Index Term(s): Great Britain/United Kingdom; International police activities
Note: *This document is currently unavailable from NCJRS.
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.