What’s Wrong with Children?! Stop and Search as a Barometer of Young People’s Treatment in a Post-conflict Landscape

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) state stop and powers are ‘an operational tool used to prevent, detect and investigate crime…’ Yet new analysis of those powers shows PSNI are using stop and search 50% more than ten years ago; and using them at a greater rate than any other police service in the U.K. Furthermore, the effectiveness of PSNI’s stop and search powers is highly questionable, with a mere 7% outcome rate compared to 16% for England and Wales. Of significant note, children (under 18s) remain central to police attention, with over 25,500 children stopped between 2010/11 – 2015/16, and 15-17 males 5-7 times more likely to be stopped by PSNI proportionate to population. This paper seeks to use stop and search powers in Northern Ireland as a barometer for the de facto coercion and control of children – as a symptom of Northern Ireland’s punitive state and community attitudes towards young people. Particularly, this will be set against PSNI recording practices around stop and search powers, lagging behind the rest of the U.K. to the extent
PSNI’s various legal obligations, not least under the UN Convention on the Rights
Period16 Sept 2017
Event titleEuropean Society of Criminology
Event typeConference
LocationCardiff, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • policing
  • stop and search
  • young people
  • civil liberties
  • Northern Ireland
  • Police Service of Northern Ireland
  • children's rights