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Extra training on stop-and-search

PUBLISHED: 11:12 25 June 2008 | UPDATED: 20:42 05 July 2010

Police in Suffolk are to get extra training in using their stop-and- search powers after new figures reveal that black people in the county are nearly five times as likely to be stopped as whites.

Police in Suffolk are to get extra training in using their stop-and- search powers after new figures reveal that black people in the county are nearly five times as likely to be stopped as whites.

The figures - released by Suffolk Police Authority - show that people from a black or ethnic minority background are 4.6 times more likely to be stopped than a white person, a increase from 3.9 times more likely in 2006-07. Black people in Waveney are 22.8 times more likely to be stopped.

Similar trends are also found across the east of England, with black people in Cambridgeshire nearly five times as likely to be stopped as white people, and it is more than four times more likely to happen in Norfolk.

The figures also show that 12pc of black people who are stopped in Suffolk are then arrested, compared to 6pc of whites and 10pc of Asian people who are stopped and searched.

A report by assistant chief constable Gary Kitching which will be discussed by the police authority's monitoring and audit committee on Friday said the disproportional figures for Waveney had already been investigated.

It said: “Of the total stops for the period June 1, 2007, to March 31, 2008, eight black people have been stopped a total of 37 times. One operation - operation Kitemark - accounts for 65pc of these stop/searches in Waveney.

“Operation Kitemark is an initiative to deal with an established burglary problem in Lowestoft. Thirteen people were targeted in an intelligence-led operation which started in autumn 2007.”

A spokesman for Suffolk police said: “This is a complex issue, which needs careful consideration on a national and local level. In Suffolk, understanding the issues around stop-and-search is a priority for the constabulary and we are proactively seeking to identify the reasons behind the disparity.

“Officers are receiving extra training and information around stop/search and encounters; and the reporting and data collection for stop-and-search is being examined to see how this could give us a better picture of disproportion trends in the county.

“Stop-and-search is an essential tool in the fight against crime and disorder. We will continue to use this for the safety of communities and to protect people from crime and anti-social behaviour.”

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