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Police under spotlight over stop and search

CONCERNING: Stop and search policy under scrutiny

BLACK AND minority ethnic (BME) communities in Leicestershire are still more likely to be stopped and searched by police, according to statistics, despite coming under fire for the use of the tactic.

Last year, Leicestershire police were threatened with legal action by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The commission said BME people in the county were almost five times more likely to be searched as white people, and Asians one-and-a-half times more likely.

FIGURES

However, newer police figures suggest that BME people are still being stopped and searched disproportionately, at about the same rate.

In the 12 months to February 2011, officers used the powers 25,000 times.
The new figures show that approximately 10 percent of searches now result in an arrest, compared with around five percent a year ago.

Chief Constable Simon Cole said: “It’s important we use this power and that we use it wisely and well. But every time we do use stop and search it is appropriately scrutinised. We are working hard to look at the disproportionality and the reasons for it.”

The force has asked De Montfort University academics to review officers’ use of the powers.

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