Ethnic minorities still more likely to face stop and search in Suffolk

Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore and senior Suffolk Constabulary officers at the a

Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore and senior Suffolk Constabulary officers at the accountabilty and performance panel meeting Picture: SANDRA GRAFFHAM - Credit: Sandra Grafham

Black and ethnic minority people are still nearly four times as likely to face police stop and searches in Suffolk – but chiefs say the rate is falling.

A report produced for Suffolk Constabulary showed the power 1,579 times in 2017/18, which is 79% lower than its peak in 2014, when the Home Office introduced new standards.

Suffolk police and crime commissioner’s latest accountability and performance power also heard that while people from ethnic minorities were 3.9 times more likely to be searched than white people, the disproprtionality was down from 6.1 in the previous year.

Assistant chief constable Rachel Kearton said that while disporportionality was a concern, there had been a downward trend over recent years.

She added that many stop and searches were carried out in connection with people from outside Suffolk coming into the county to deal drugs.

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“Drugs is significantly higher reason for use of stop and search than any other,” she said.

“We know that one if the big issues for Suffolk is the number of people coming in from other areas, quite significantly from London, to deal drugs.”

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Once the home post code of the resident was taken into account, to remove the London drug dealer suspects, black and ethnic minority people from Suffolk were 2.2 times more likely to be stopped and searched.

“Clearly, the use of stop and search remains disproportionate when looking at this sub-sample, but not as disproportionate,” the report said.

The report showed that eight out of 10 people who were searched reported that they understood the reasons for their search and were treated with respect and dignity.

Searches resulting in no further action being taken remained at an average of 60% for the latest reporting period, however the rate of NFA is said to have seen an “almost continual decrease”.

Police and crime commissioner said stop and search was a “useful tool”, which he supported.

“I think Suffolk’s track record with stop and search has been second to none,” he added.

Mr Passmore said he was pleased the vast majority of people being searched understood why.

Chief constable Gareth Wilson said it was a useful power, though it was important to explain its use.

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