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Notts police call for help over stop and search

CONCERNS: Police in Nottinghamshire say they need help over stop and search

POLICE IN Nottinghamshire have called in help to tackle concerns about the number of black and minority ethnic (BME) people being stopped and searched.

The move follows the publication of research showing that people from BME communities in the county are nine times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people.

The figures, collated from the 3,137 stop and searches done by police in 2011-12, show that black people were 9.1 times more likely to be targeted than white people. In 2010-11 the figure was 10.3 and in 2009-10 it was 9.3.

Report

In a report prepared for Nottinghamshire Police Authority's community engagement and partnerships committee, Detective Chief Superintendent Ian Waterfield said the issue was “cause for concern".

He said the force had contacted the National Policing Improvement Agency about its Next Steps programme developed to tackle disproportionality in stop and search.

Steff Webber of the police authority's Community Engagement Committee, said: “The figures in regard to proportionality between searches of black and white youths are concerning."

The agency has begun working with Nottinghamsire Police.

Waterfield said: “The programme will help understand disproportionality in its widest sense. Evidence from other areas where the Next Steps programme has been implemented indicates that significant progress can be made in addressing concerns."

The force has provided funding to a group of young people in the county to produce a DVD on the pros and cons of stop and search powers.

The law states that a police officer can conduct a stop and search if they have grounds to suspect a person is carrying drugs, weapons or stolen property, or items that could be used to commit a crime or cause criminal damage.

Concern

A police spokesman said the force took the issue very seriously.

He said “Stop and search powers are often utilised following a high profile incident, and tend to be focused in hotspot areas linked to intelligence. It is important for the force to engage with our communities and understand their concerns."

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