BLACK and Asian people are being ‘disproportionately’ stopped and searched by West Midlands Police, writes Gurdip Thandi.
Figures showed that, on average, far more ethnic minority people were subject to police powers than white people in the region.
A report presented to the Strategic Policing and Crime Board last Tuesday (18) showed there were 17 searches of black people per 1,000 head of population. This compares with four per 1,000 head of population for white people.
This was lower than the figure for England and Wales, which is 29 searches of black people per 1,000 head of population.
In the West Midlands, the rate of stop and searches for Asian people was 10 per 1,000 head of population and 15 for people of mixed race.
Police bosses said there is a high level of scrutiny on the process and added officers now all wear body cameras to ensure searches are fair and lawful.
They also said they are using new methods of recording and assessing data on stop and searches to scrutinise where they take place and who they target.
Chief constable Dave Thompson said: “The rate at which members of the black or Asian communities are searched is higher than white communities.
“The level of scrutiny that applies to make sure searches are lawful is intense and involves the public to give confidence. We do use the search rates against the overall population and that has some challenges and limitations.
“There are some parts of the force where search powers are used far more intensively, and they are generally the areas with higher rates of crime and that’s what we’d expect to be doing.”
Superintendent Ed Foster added they were now using new methods to map stop and searches to see where they took place, assess the demographic and see if they happened in crime hotspots.
He said they would also talk to officers if they were found to be targeting certain ethnicities to find out why.
(Local Democracy Reporting Service)