Sunday, November 17, 2013
'Stop-and-Frisk does work': Over half of the 150,000 arrests that came from searches ended in conviction or guilty plea, say NY police
Police in New York have claimed that controversial ‘stop and search’ tactics are effective at tackling crime, after a report found that half the arrests from the measure lead to a conviction.
The first ever analysis of stop and search, it also found that a quarter of cases resulted in prison sentences.
In Britain, similar tactics have provoked fury over racial profiling.
A study published earlier this year found police were up to 28 per cent more likely to use stop-and-search powers against black people than white.
New York police’s use of stop-and-frisk has been a hallmark of outgoing mayor Michael Bloomberg’s battle against crime – which has fallen more than 30 per cent during his three terms in office – but has led to lawsuits and growing anger among minorities.
The report by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman analysed 150,000 arrests resulting from 2.4million stops between 2009 and 2012, and found 51 per cent of the arrests led to convictions or guilty pleas.
However, earlier this year a US judge appointed a federal monitor to oversee reforms aimed at curbing the practice.
The analysis was billed by Schneiderman's office as the first of its kind. 'Until now, no known study has sought to assess what happens following (stop-and-frisk) arrests,' the report said.
The other half were never prosecuted, dismissed or resulted in adjournments in contemplation of dismissal - a legal term for cases in which a judge allows a case to be dismissed after a probationary period of usually six months to a year.
The report also said the stop-and-frisk arrests resulted in a 24 per cent incarceration rate.
The chief spokesman for the police, John McCarthy, called the analysis 'flawed' and said it underestimated the value of the tactic.
He said it fails to account for situations in which police action such as stop and frisk deter or prevent a crime, which does not result in arrests.
The report results appear to show that the outcomes of stop and frisk arrests are no more or less effective in nabbing criminals than are other NYPD arrests.
The conviction and incarceration rates in the Schneiderman report are nearly identical to the rates for overall city arrests last year, according to statistics from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.
Melissa Grace, a spokeswoman for Schneiderman, said the report did not compare the conviction and incarceration rates resulting from police stops with overall citywide rates. She declined to elaborate on the similarity of the figures.
The NYPD's use of stop and frisk has been at the center of a contentious debate since May 2012 when the New York Civil Liberties Union released a report showing use of the tactic skyrocketed under Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The total number of police stops rose from 160,851 in 2003 - a year after Bloomberg took office - to 685,724 in 2011.
Mayor elect Bill De Blasio made reforming police use of the stop and frisk policy a key component in his campaign
Mayor elect Bill De Blasio made reforming police use of the stop and frisk policy a key component in his campaign
Bloomberg and police Commissioner Ray Kelly have staunchly defended the tactic as the centerpiece of a crime-fighting strategy that has driven overall crime down more than 30 percent during Bloomberg's three terms in office.
In August, a federal judge ruled that the police use of stop and frisk led to 'indirect racial profiling' of mostly young, minority residents - who comprised 87 percent of all police stops last year.
The judge, U.S. District Court judge Shira Scheindlin, appointed a federal monitor to oversee a broad spectrum of reforms aimed at curbing the practice.
Last week, Scheindlin's ruling was put on hold and she was removed from the case by a three-judge appellate panel which said she 'ran afoul' of the judicial code of conduct by granting media interviews and appearing to steer the lawsuit to her courtroom.
The case has been re-assigned to another judge but is expected to be withdrawn after Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio takes office on Jan. 1. De Blasio, a Democrat, made reforming police use of the stop and frisk policy a key component in his mayoral campaign.
He won a landslide victory over Republican Joseph Lhota, who supported the stop-and-frisk tactic.
British Liberal leader: 'intimidating' and 'offensive' Gypsy migrants must be sensitive to British way of life
The deputy Prime Minisiter responds to reports of tensions between Roma migrants and other communities near his constituency in Sheffield
Roma communities must avoid “intimidating” local residents and be “sensitive to the way that life is lived in this country,” Nick Clegg has said.
The deputy Prime Minister described tensions between Roma immigrants and established communities in Slough and Sheffield as a “real dilemma” adding that people find some of their behaviour “offensive” and “difficult to accept.”
This week David Blunkett, who is the MP for the neighbouring constituency to Nick Clegg in Sheffield, warned that tensions between local people in the Page Hill area and Roma migrants to escalate into rioting unless action was taken to improve integration.
The former home secretary said he fears a repeat of race riots that hit northern cities in 2001.
Nick Clegg also raised Mr Blunkett’s concerns about “large numbers of people hanging around outside in streets” in areas of Sheffield. Adding that those Roma “intimidating” local residents “listen to what to the people in the community have to say.”
Speaking on LBC Radio’s regular Call Clegg slot he said: “There is a real dilemma… when you get communities coming into a part of our country and they behave in a way that people find quite difficult to accept, and they behave in a way that people find sometimes intimidating, sometimes offensive I think its quite right that we should say… if you are going to come and live here and you are bringing up a family here you’ve got to be sensitive to the way that life is lived in this country.”
In an interview with BBC on Monday David Blunkett said: "We have got to change the behaviour and the culture of the incoming community, the Roma community, because there's going to be an explosion otherwise. We all know that."
"If everything exploded, if things went really wrong, the community would obviously be devastated. We saw this in Bradford, Burnley and Oldham all those years ago when I first became home secretary. We saw that the community itself were the losers."
British police arrest the victim -- yet again
They are firmly on the side of the crooks
A businessman sold a lump of clay instead of an iPad by Tesco was arrested on suspicion of fraud when he complained to the supermarket giant.
Colin Marsh, 47, paid £470 for the Apple tablet computer in Whitstable, Kent, as a Christmas present last year for his young daughters - but he opened the box to find it contained three lumps of clay.
The father, who runs two bakeries, immediately took it back to the store for a refund - but instead of reimbursing him, Tesco staff became suspicious and reported him to Kent Police.
Two days later Mr Marsh, father to Maddie, 11, and Daisy, eight - got a call asking him to report to his local police station where he was held for three hours, and accused of trying to scam Tesco.
He spent two months on bail before being told he faced no further action. The iPad that should have been in the box was tracked down to Wales, more than 200 miles from where he had bought it.
Mr Marsh, who has since got his money back, said: ‘You just can’t treat people like that. It’s absolutely disgusting. I couldn’t believe it when I saw what was inside the box.
'Maddie was devastated. I took it back to Tesco, but they said they couldn’t give me a refund and would need to carry out an investigation.
‘Two days later, I got a call at about 8pm from the police asking if I could come down to the station to answer some questions. I just thought they wanted to know what had happened.
‘But the next thing I know I’m being bundled into a cell. I was in there for three hours. It was then they told me the iPad had been activated in my name. I just thought “how can that possibly be?”
‘It didn’t make any sense. I’ve run my own successful businesses for 22 years, and I own my own house. Why would I want to scam Tesco out of a £470 iPad? I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through what my family and I have.’
Mr Marsh, who is married to hairdresser Sam, 45, bought the iPad just before Christmas last year. He went back to complain on Boxing Day but was told staff needed to ‘investigate’.
Police then called him and he voluntarily attended Whitstable police station on December 28 where officers claimed the iPad had been registered to him.
Mr Marsh remained on bail until February 14 when the missing tablet was found registered in Wales.
A Tesco spokesman said: ‘We were very disappointed to learn that the product we sold to Mr Marsh had been tampered with.
'We would of course never knowingly have sold it to Mr Marsh and we apologise sincerely for the problems this has caused him.
‘We immediately launched an internal investigation into how this happened and shared the information we gathered with the police, which we believe was the right thing to do.
A Kent Police spokesman said: ‘Mr Marsh was arrested on suspicion of fraud following information that the iPad in question had apparently been registered in his name at some time between 21 and 24 December 2012.
‘This was investigated and as soon as it became clear that Mr Marsh had not committed any offences, his bail was cancelled and he was informed police would not be taking any further action against him.’
Christians 'face extinction' amid Muslim terror, minister warns
Christianity is in danger of becoming extinct in its ancient homelands because of a rising tide of sectarian attacks, a senior minister will warn on Friday.
Violence against Christian worshippers and other religious minorities by fanatics has become a “global crisis” and is the gravest challenge facing the world this century, Baroness Warsi will say.
“A mass exodus is taking place, on a Biblical scale. In some places, there is a real danger that Christianity will become extinct,” she will say at a speech at Georgetown University in Washington.
In the new year, Lady Warsi, the Minister for Faith who sits in the Cabinet, will host an international summit to draw up a plan to end the violence against Christians - particularly in the countries where the faith was born.
Writing for Telegraph.co.uk, Lady Warsi highlights the bombing of All Saints Church in Pakistan, killing 85 congregants, in September and the gun attack on a Coptic wedding party in Egypt as the latest outrages by militants who have turned “religion upon religion, sect upon sect”.
“There are parts of the world today where to be a Christian is to put your life in danger,” she writes. “From continent to continent, Christians are facing discrimination, ostracism, torture, even murder, simply for the faith they follow.
“Christian populations are plummeting and the religion is being driven out of some of its historic heartlands. In Iraq, the Christian community has fallen from 1.2m in 1990 to 200,000 today. In Syria, the horrific bloodshed has masked the haemorrhaging of its Christian population,” she says.
Terrorists are subjecting Christians in the Middle East to “collective punishment” for American foreign policy. Worshippers are now regarded as newcomers and agents of the West, despite having lived there for centuries.
The attacks come against a diverse background of political upheaval, local turf wars and social unrest – but they share the common trait of Christians becoming a “scapegoat” for extremists who are insecure in their own religious identity, she will say.
It is the same mindset that motivated the Nazis to persecute the Jews and the Communists to suppress the Russian church, she says.
Lady Warsi is the first senior British politician to draw attention to the plight of Christians in the Arab world, and will call on other Muslims to defend Christians, citing the example of Christians who defended praying Muslims in Tahrir Square during the Egyptian uprising.
“A bomb going off in a Pakistani church shouldn’t just reverberate through Christian communities; it should stir the world,” she says.
The response must be a co-ordinated international effort similar to the campaign against Apartheid and for Civil Rights in the United States, Lady Warsi will argue. Extremists must be prevented from “twisting history” by claiming co-existence is not possible. She will hold up the example of her daughter, a Muslim who attends a convent school.
Her intervention comes as church leaders become increasingly alarmed at the rising numbers of sectarian attacks on churches in the Islamic world.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has described the victims of bombings in Pakistan as “martyrs”. “They have been attacked because they were testifying to their faith in Jesus Christ by going to church,” he said. Lord Sacks, the former chief rabbi, has described the continuous wave of attacks on Iraqi Christians by Al-Qaeda as “the religious equivalent of ethnic cleansing”.
Around a third of Syria’s Christian population are believed to have fled during the civil war, after being lumped together as “pro-Assad” by Islamist rebels. Earlier this month 45 Christian civilians were reported to have been killed and their churches desecrated in a massacre in Sadad, near Damascus, one of the oldest Christian communities in the world.
In Egypt, the Coptic Orthodox Church, which is the oldest in the world and was founded in 50AD, has come under attack from suicide bombers and arsonists since the Arab Spring.
In Kenya, the Al Shebaab gunmen who attacked a shopping mall in September, killing 61 civilians, asked Muslim hostages to leave before shooting their victims
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.