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Police to publish stop and search street guide

POLICY CHANGE: New online guide will document how stop and search is being used

POLICE CHIEFS are set to publish a street-by-street guide which will give information about how they use stop and search tactics.

Forces across the country will release details online of where and why each stop took place, the age and background of the person searched.

Each stop will be uploaded onto a map, and will be made available members of the public.

The plans mean that for the first time, people will be able to see the areas in the UK where stop and searches are most likely to happen and the ethnic background of those affected.

This move has been welcomed by campaigners.

The online guide will also include information about whether or not anything was found after an individual was stopped and searched.

This comes after Home Secretary, Theresa May, announced in April last year that she wanted to introduce a “comprehensive package" reforming the use of police ‘stop and search’ powers after telling MPs that as many as a quarter of a million street searches last year were probably carried out illegally.

She also highlighted that black people are still seven times more likely to be stopped by the police than white people, with only about one in 10 of those stops leading to an arrest.

A recent report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary found more that in 27 per cent of ‘stop and search’ cases police failed to show they had reasonable grounds to use the power. This is the equivalent of 250,000 people every year being stopped and searched without proper justification.

The report, commissioned after the 2011 riots, warned that misuse of the power had the potential to stir up significant social unrest.

May dismissed fears that criminals will be able to use data to interpret areas that the police are patrolling regularly.

She said that the project was a crucial step in a bid to improve police accountability and the way in which the power is used.

She said: “Stop and search powers are vital in the fight against crime. However, they must be applied fairly and only when needed, and in a way that builds community confidence rather than undermining it.”

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