Black people are up to seventeen times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police than whites, new figures suggest.
Figures published by forces yesterday show black people are more likely to be stopped and searched than whites in almost every force in England and Wales.
The data, which is adjusted to reflect the.......
population size in each area, suggest the issue is more pronounced in rural forces with smaller black populations.
In one force, Dorset, blacks were seventeen times more likely to be searched than whites. For Sussex Police the figure was ten times, for Warwickshire seven times and for Devon and Cornwall and West Mercia six times.
The likelihood of a black person being stopped and searched compared with a white person
A spokesman for Dorset Police said officers used a test of ‘reasonable suspicion’ before making a search – and said the census used to help calculate the figures undercounts temporary visitors and holidaymakers.
He added: ‘It is also important to understand that Dorset Police is actively targeting a number of criminal gangs in Dorset; some of these gangs include members of the black community who are residents of the county and do not feature in the census data for Dorset.
Home Secretary Theresa May has long held concerns about the use of stop and search by the police and introduced a series of measures to try and limit its use.
In February Mrs May pledged to change the law if officers did not halt the ‘excessive and inappropriate’ use of stop and search powers.
If police continue to misuse the powers legislation would be introduced to tie their hands, she said.
Only around one in ten of every ten searches ends in arrest.
Stop and search has been blamed for inflaming tensions between the police and black communities.
A report by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary shows that in 27 per cent of cases, police fail to show they have reasonable grounds to carry out the search.
That is the equivalent of 250,000 people every year being stopped and subjected to hugely intrusive searches without the police sticking to the rules.
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