Police Scotland’s use of ‘stop and search’ powers is being scrutinised after a scrutiny review by the Scottish Police Authority (SPA).
The report found that between April and December 2013, there were 61.6 per cent more searches carried out in the Borders than during the same period in 2012.
This matches the national increase: during the same period, over two-thirds of local authority areas had increases in stop and search activity.
Out of 32 local authority areas, the Borders saw the sixth-highest increase. Those aged between 15 and 19 were most likely to be searched.
Police Scotland said the use of the stop and search tactic should always be “lawful, proportionate, intelligence-led and respectful to the member of the public involved”.
The review finds that: “If appropriately used, stop and search can play a part in helping detect and prevent criminal and anti-social behaviour.
“However, there are risks in the way the tactic is applied and how this affects different groups, particularly young people and different communities.
The report recognised that: “Stop and search, if inappropriately applied, has the potential to cause a loss of confidence within the community which could undermine the principle of policing by consent and damage the ability of the police to work in partnership with the community.”
Chief Superintendent Gill Imery, Police Scotland Divisional Commander for the Lothians and Scottish Borders, said: “Police Scotland uses targeted, intelligence-led stop and search as one of a number of operational policing tactics to help prevent and detect crime and anti-social behaviour as part of our commitment to keep people safe.
“Our working practices ensure it’s proportionate, focused and carried out in the right place at the right time. An increase in the number of positive searches during the past year means more weapons, drugs and alcohol have been removed from our streets.
“There are no individual targets for stop and search. Police Scotland works within the context of an ethical and legal performance framework which is robustly scrutinised at both command and local level as well as through regular reports to the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), by HMICS inspections and local authority scrutiny arrangements.”