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Police Stop-and-Frisk Practice Proposed
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 19 Sep.'10 / 14:49

A draft amendment to the law on police, introducing stop-and-frisk practice, should provide more guarantees that it will not be misused by the police, Tbilisi-based legal advocacy group, Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA), called on the Parliament.

The draft amendment, which was passed by the Parliament with its first reading last week, will give police officers right to stop a person on the street and to frisk the outer clothing if officer has "a reasonable suspicion" that criminal activity is afoot. According to the amendment a person can be stopped by a policeman for "a reasonable time period" required for allaying police suspicion. If the surface search results into further suspicion, police officer will then conduct a full-blown search, according to the amendment.

Parliamentary minority criticized the proposed amendment and refused to support it.

In a letter sent to the parliamentary committee for legal affairs on September 17, GYLA said that although it was not against of the amendment in principle, the proposal required improvement to put it in line with international standards.

In particular, GYLA recommended to give policemen right to stop a person and to frisk in case they have "reasonable suspicion that person is armed and is posing threat to policemen or bystanders." Time period during which a person can be stopped should in no way exceed time required for finding a weapon if any, GYLA said.

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