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Black people four times more likely to be stopped and searched by police in the West Midlands

By Richard Guttridge | Crime | Published:

You are four times more likely to be stopped and searched by police in the West Midlands if you are black, new figures have shown.

Black people are disproportionately targeted by stop and search powers

Black people are still being disproportionately targeted by stop and search powers, although the gap is not as wide as in the UK as a whole.

Figures from West Midlands Police showed 17 in every 1,000 black people are searched, compared to just four white people. Numbers of mixed race and Asian people being searched is also higher, at 15 and 10 in every 1,000 respectively.

Nationally, the figure is 29 for black people, nine for mixed race people, eight for Asian people and three for those who are white.

Between April and January there were almost 18,000 stop and searches conducted in the West Midlands.

Of that number, 2,031 were in Sandwell, 1,282 in Walsall, 1,064 in Wolverhampton and 956 in Dudley. Of these, 16 per cent led to an arrest, just over half - 51 per cent - involved drugs and 3.9 per cent firearms.

Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: "Disproportionality rates between different ethnic groups are still too high, but I am at least pleased that we are more proportionate than police forces across England and Wales.

"Stop and search rates have increased recently. Public panels regularly oversee bodyworn video footage of the stops to ensure that there is an appropriate level of scrutiny and the force are complying their legal obligations."

Rosalind Comyn, from the campaign group Liberty, said the increased use of stop and search was"eroding relations" between police and communities.

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She said: “Serious violence on our streets is an urgent issue and these discriminatory police practices aren’t helping, in fact they could be making it worse. Across the country discrimination in the use of stop and search is at its highest in over 20 years, and rising, as police forces ramp up its use.

"If you are a person of colour you will be disproportionately affected by the impact of these expanded powers. This is further eroding relations between police and the communities they serve – and undermining the fight against serious violence in the long term.”

Jay Singh-Sohal, Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner candidate for the upcoming election, said: "I strongly advocate robust policing and a zero tolerance approach to get crime down. But we need to make sure that confidence in our police is not eroded at the same time.

“These figures on the use of stop and search suggest either a level of profiling that I am uncomfortable with or an unacceptable level of bias.

“Our police force must ensure that our diverse communities can clearly understand the rationale behind their actions.

“I want to see more police on our streets equipped with the powers they need to protect the public – but it’s vital those powers are used in an accountable way.”

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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