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Arrests rising as use of stop and search by police falls

By Alex Ross | Crime | Published:

Police use of stop and search powers in the West Midlands has dropped almost 80 per cent in six years, it has been revealed.

Police use of stop and search powers in the West Midlands has dropped

And the rate of arrests from the stops has gone up dramatically, from four per cent in 2011/12 to 20 per cent for 2017/18.

The figures showed in 2017/18 there were 12,284 stop and searches, compared to 64,000 in 2011/12.

The force has also used Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act to carry out searches.

This grants senior officers the power to search anyone in a specific area where intelligence has revealed serious violence is to take place.

In 2017/18 there were 19 uses of the Section 60, including one in both Walsall and Sandwell.

Chief Superintendent Chris Todd revealed the figures at a meeting of West Midland's strategic policing and crime board.

He said: "We made a concerted effort from 2011/12 into the addressing the use of these intrusive powers across the West Midlands Police.

"It was found through inspection that around 27 per cent records did not meet the requirements at that time which would demonstrate unlawful use of those powers."

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But he said the picture has improved.

A recent inspection by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services found just three out of 200 stop and searches were 'less than satisfactory'.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: "In the West Midlands we have reduced the number of stop and searches whilst also increasing the number of arrests.

"Our intelligence-led approach has reduced disproportionately and meant that officers are focussing their efforts much more effectively than they were five years ago.

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"With fewer officers, we must ensure they’re using the time as effectively as possible."

Mr Jamieson said the force’s approach has improved efficiency.

He added: "It is an issue that we are constantly looking at to see if we can improve further. Stop and search is a useful tool, but must be used properly."

A breakdown of the number of uses of stop and search showed most in the Black Country took place in Sandwell in 2017/18.

The borough saw 1,104 and 17.5 per cent leading to an arrest.

Wolverhampton saw 1,030 uses of the power and 19.5 per cent arrest rate, Walsall 745 with a 15.4 per cent rate and Dudley, 499 with a 22.6 rate.

Alex Ross

By Alex Ross
Investigations Editor - @alexross_star

Invesitgations Editor at the Express & Star. Everyone has a story - tell me yours.

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