HOMELESSNESS charities in Glasgow have raised fears that police are overusing the power to stop and search.


The Marie Trust in Midland Street has complained to Police Scotland that service users and volunteers have been repeatedly targeted by officers.

Sandy Farquharson, Director of The Marie Trust, who contacted the force about the use of stop and search outside the centre, said: "It was heavy-handed, unreasonable and excessive. We couldn't see any reason for it."

He added: "On Thursday one of our volunteers was approached by the police and they took her name and address."

Lorraine McGrath, Chief Executive of Simon Community Scotland, echoed Mr Farquharson's concerns.

She said: "Stop and search is an issue. Homeless people are stigmatised and there is an expectation that if searched they will be found with an illegal substance.

"The irony is that the homeless are far more likely to be victims of crime than perpetrators."

The Liberal Democrat justice spokeswoman Alison McInnes MSP has urged Police Scotland to investigate the claims and work with charities in Glasgow to "get to the bottom of these concerns".

She added: "The profiling of specific sections of society, particularly vulnerable groups, only serves to undermine trust between police and the communities they serve."

Chief Inspector Mark Sutherland, the area commander for Glasgow city centre, said the use of stop and search is a "valuable" policing tactic but one that "must be intelligence-led and used proportionately".

The use of stop and search has been dogged by controversy after it emerged that frisk levels in Scotland are far higher proportionately than in the Metropolitan police, most searches have no legal basis, and young children have been stopped after supposedly providing consent.

It emerged yesterday that publication of a critical report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) has been delayed.

Derek Penman, the most senior HMICS figure, told MSPs on March 19 that the report would be available in the next week.

It is understood HMICS then sent their finding to Police Scotland, the Scottish Government, the Scottish Police Authority, the Metropolitan Police and other stakeholders for comment.

A spokeswoman for HMICS said: "HMICS indicated its aim to publish the report on March 27, 2015. However given the complexity of the report, there have been delays in the response to the factual accuracy and we are still progressing the final version of the report with a view to publishing on Tuesday, March 31."