Today I’m attending a workshop in Valencia. Ben Bradford and a team of researchers from the Universidad de Valencia are presenting the final report of a study funded by the Open Society on the use and consequences of stop and search by Spanish police. The report is quite interesting. If you can read Spanish it was distributed as a pdf (here). Even if you don’t read good Spanish you may be able to get the gist of the tables.
Basically, they found out what was expected. The Spanish State is not very good at “open data”, as I have discussed in this blog in various occasions. Ethnic minorities are disproportionately targeted, adjusting for some confounders. And stop and search has an impact on attitudes toward the police (e.g., police legitimacy). Ben played a role in design and analysis and brought to the project the insights from their work on procedural justice.
Unfortunately, I will be in Valencia only virtually. Via a Skype connection. Providing it works. Thus, no paella and sunshine for me nor opportunities to catch up informally with well-liked colleagues and friends. Plus I could not see/attend the full event. Teaching has those drawbacks.
This is the gist of what I plan to say. I think it is a great and much needed study and that our Valencian colleagues have made a wonderful contribution. Seriously, in Spain is not easy to do empirical criminology with money, perhaps even less so if it has a bit of a critical edge to it. Without the support of external organisations such as the Open Society is really hard to do research of certain kind. Let’s now hope someone takes notice (always the optimist) and that this generate some momentum in the rather langid field of Spanish police research.