Stop and search figures revealed in Suffolk

BLACK people are nearly six times more likely to be stopped and searched by police in Ipswich than white people, figures revealed today.

The statistics, in a report to Suffolk Police Authority, show the equivalent of 5.3 white people per 1,000 of the population were subjected to stop and search in the town, compared to 31.1 black people.

The figures relate to the 12-month period between July 2011 to June 2012. In total, there were 735 stop searches carried out in Ipswich – 87 of which involved members of the black community.

Jane Basham, Labour candidate for the Police and Crime Commissioner election in Suffolk, said the statistics were unacceptable and 'damaging to the trust and confidence that all communities need to have in the police service'.

She added: 'There needs to be much more effective supervision of officers on this matter and I know that with the 20pc cuts to the police service that they have stripped out around 40 sergeants and inspectors.

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'I'm concerned that it's going to get worse because there's not going to be that level of supervision I know is essential.'

In Suffolk, 3,384 stop searches were carried out – 128 less than the previous year – and 137 of which involved the black community, a total of 4pc.

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Of all stop searches in Suffolk, 69pc resulted in no further action, 8pc in advice being given and in 8pc of cases arrests were made. In contrast, the proportion that resulted in arrest in black cases was 18 out of 137. The main drivers for the 137 stop searches were reported as stolen property and drugs.

Tim Passmore, Conservative candidate for the Police and Crime Commissioner election in Suffolk, said: 'Stop and searches are a matter for the police and not one the police and crime commissioner would be directly involved with. I do think stop and searches need to be more evidence based and there needs to be greater transparency.'

Audrey Ludwig, Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality's (ISCRE) director of legal services, said: 'ISCRE believes that the ineffective, costly and humiliating dragnet approach of disproportionately using stop and search powers against specific sections of our community is classic unintelligent policing.'

A Suffolk police spokesman said: 'The number of people from a black and minority ethnic background who are actually being stopped and searched in the town is relatively low. Therefore any slight increase in the number of people being stopped and searched can have a significant impact.

'Nevertheless we take this matter very seriously and continue to work with ISCRE, the Stop and Search Improvement Partnership, and the Stop and Search Reference Group to ensure the constabulary's use of stop and search is fair and effective.'

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