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Black people 13 times more likely to be stopped and searched in West Midlands

By Dayna Farrington | Crime | Published:

Black and Asian people are far more likely to be stopped and searched compared to white people in the West Midlands, new figures have revealed.

Stop-and-search powers have been increased after a spate of knife crime

Black people are 13 times more likely to be searched under Section 60 powers and Asian people are seven times more likely when compared to white people.

The figures for the 2018/19 year were revealed during yesterday's West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner's strategic policing and crime board meeting.

Section 60 powers were ramped up in the wake of a spike of knife and violent crime across the region – particularly after the stabbings of three teenagers in Birmingham in February.

Proportional?

Speaking after the meeting, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson described the figures were "concerning" and said work needs to be done to scrutinise whether they are proportionate figures.

He said: "My thoughts on it are that when you read the headline figure, now that is quite concerning. What I want to see is what is behind it and why there is that disproportionality.

"The areas where the Section 60 has been carried out have tended to be in more deprived areas where the type of street crime they are investigating is more likely.

West Midlands PCC David Jamieson

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"Street crime tends to happen in more deprived areas where of course there is a higher proportion of black and Asian people living in those areas.

"What we have got to do is, we have got to be absolutely certain this is proportionate and that we are not actually disadvantaging one particular group.

"Secondly, what I want to know is of those arrests that have been taken of each ethnicity what were the positive outcomes – were they more likely to have positive outcomes? Or is it disproportionality?

"We treat it with caution, it doesn't always say what it appears to say, but nevertheless I am asking that question. Thirteen times more likely is a big factor and the question has to be asked.

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'More work to be done'

"I need more convincing that this is entirely proportionate – there is more work to be done.

"What is being targeted is the areas where there is the highest amount of knife crime and highest violence – they tend to be the more deprived areas.

"They also tend to be the areas where there is a higher proportion of black and Asian communities.

"I don't think it is targeting the people, it is targeting the crime. But I just want to be absolutely sure that this is totally proportionate."

Addressing stop and search as a whole, Mr Jamieson added: "Stop and search is a necessary tool, but must continue to be scrutinised closely to make sure it is as fair and effective as possible.

"The public need to have confidence that the tactics used are the best use of our scarce resources."

Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.

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