Fair and Effective Police Stops: Lessons in Reform from Five Spanish Police Agencies

*NOTE: I edited this technical report along with Rachel Neild, David Barry, and José Francisco Cano de la Vega. The report was written by Joel Miller and published in 2015. It was based on work related to police stop-and-search in Spain that I conducted while on staff with the Open Society Justice Initiative.

Around the world, police departments, policy makers, and communities have struggled to develop best practices that ensure the delivery of both fair and effective policing. Recently, five police departments in Spain undertook an ambitious reform program intended to reduce ethnic profiling and increase the effectiveness and fairness of police stops and searches.

Their collective experience shows that change is possible—while also illustrating the challenges and resources required to make change sustainable. Through a series of steps outlined in this report, police agencies reduced the ethnic disproportionality of their stops, increased the effectiveness of stops, while reducing the total number of people stopped, and improved relations with ethnic minority communities.

This report, produced by the Open Society Justice Initiative and the Plataforma por la Gestión Policial de la Diversidad, is both a description of reform efforts and a prescription—grounded in day-to-day experience—for how police departments can carry out reforms and what can be achieved. By combining a narrative account of how the reforms were implemented with data on the impact of the reforms, Fair and Effective Police Stops provides a roadmap for any police service seeking to improve the fairness and effectiveness of its work.

Read the full report here.

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