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Number of black people stopped and searched published online

THE NUMBER of black people being stopped by police in every area in Britain has been published online for the first time as part of ongoing reforms to make policing more transparent.

Home Secretary Theresa May today announced the new tool which will give a detailed force-by-force breakdown of how - and on who - the controversial powers are being used.

Members of the public will be able to access the data for their area and compare it to other parts of the country.

It will reveal the ethnicity and age of those stopped on a monthly basis as well as details including the number of stop and searches and the outcome of the exchange.
For example, if a search led to an actual charge.

In areas like Derbyshire, for example, the data shows black people are three times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people.

For forces across London, black people are more than three times likely to be stopped than Asian people, and nearly four times more likely to be stopped than white British people.

May said: “Stop and search is undoubtedly an important police power. But when it is misused it can be counter-productive and an enormous waste of police time.

“If it is not operated in a targeted and proportionate way and if innocent people are stopped and searched for no good reason, it is hugely damaging to the relationship between the police and the public.”

The data is the latest in a series of measures to reform police use of stop and search under the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme, which May introduced last year.

Latest figures for England and Wales show that the number of stops and searches has fallen by 12 per cent from the previous year and by 31 per cent since 2009/10.

Stop to arrest ratios have increased from 9 per cent in 2009/10 to 12 per cent in 2013/14.

The newly published data has been provided by 40 forces across England and Wales, including the British Transport Police. It complements stop and search maps currently produced by 25 forces.

Cambridgeshire, South Wales, Cheshire and Cumbria did not participate because they do not have the IT capability.

Geo-mapping technology allows the public to see exactly where stop and searches took place in their local area, the reason for it and the outcome.

It was designed in partnership with police forces, community groups and young people such as Chat:Bout a young persons group from Nottingham and a stop and search scrutiny group in Avon and Somerset.

May added: “This is a further step forward in the Government’s commitment to increasing the transparency of the police and ensuring the public can hold their force to account.”

The data collection has resulted in a number of forces reviewing the quality of their data and rectifying inaccuracies in their reporting, the Home Office claimed.

Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Hanstock, the National Police Chiefs Council lead on stop and search, said: “It is important that we do not lose sight of the fact that, on a daily basis, officers utilising the stop and search power are finding weapons, stolen property and drugs.

“It is, however, very important that this power is used with great care and precision, acting on intelligence and reasonable suspicion that a suspect is in possession of something they should not be.”

He added: “Today’s data shows that the police service is moving in the right direction and is committed both to making improvements and maintaining community confidence that we are utilising stop and search in the best possible way.”

Jack Dromey MP, Labour’s shadow minister for policing, said: "For years we pressed Theresa May to act on mounting public concern over stop and search, an essential tool in fighting crime but a power that, if abused, can undermine community confidence in the police. It is welcome that there is now recognition of the importance of acting on intelligence and carrying the community with you. It is also right that the statistics are published so that the public know and the police can constantly work at getting the balance right between proper use and abuse."

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