Stop and search: Scottish Human Rights Commission reports concerns to UN

Scotland’s national human rights institution has this week reported its long-standing concerns about unlawful police stop and search practices to the United Nations.

In a report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee on the United Kingdom’s implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Commission highlighted the need for stop and search to take place within the legal framework set out by the Covenant.

Professor Alan Miller, Chair of the Commission, said:

“Stop and search has its place as a means of ensuring public safety. However, it should only be carried out where there is a clear legal basis for interfering with someone’s basic right to privacy. We should all be free to go about our daily business unless the police have reasonable suspicion that we are doing something illegal.

“Police Scotland has repeatedly failed to take appropriate steps to address the concerns that the Commission and others have raised. A review announced in February promised progress but, in reality, has not led to any tangible change. Unlawful stop and search continues to take place on Scotland’s streets. This must stop.

“The Commission has this week brought the issue to the attention of the United Nations Human Rights Committee. We look forward to the report of the Stop and Search Advisory Group established by the Scottish Government and will respond to its recommendations in due course.”


For more information please contact Emma Hutton on 07833 402287 or

Notes to Editors

  1. The Scottish Human Rights Commission is an independent public body with a remit to promote and protect human rights for everyone in Scotland. It is accredited as an “A status” national human rights institution within the UN system, which gives it the right to report directly to the UN on human rights issues affecting people in Scotland.
  2. The Commission has previously called for an end to non-statutory stop and search and raised the issue in an initial list of issues submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee in July 2014.
  3. The Commission has submitted a full report on a range of issues, including stop and search, to the UN Human Rights Committee on the United Kingdom’s 7th periodic report on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).