08:00 Tuesday 02 October 2012

Stop and search powers causing alarm at ESREC

Written byJOSH TAYLOR

BLACK and ethnic minority people in Staffordshire are twice as likely to be arrested or subjected to police stop and search powers.

Amir Kabal, president of the East Staffs racial equality councilThere were nearly 3,000 arrests of black and ethnic minority people in the county between September 2011 and August 2012.

Meanwhile the number of black and ethnic minority people who are stopped and searched in the streets by officers has risen by 55 per cent in the past year.

Amir Kabal, director of East Staffordshire Rights and Equality Council (ESREC), dubbed the figures ‘concerning’ and said police needed to examine why ethnic minorities were more likely to be arrested or stopped and searched than white people.

He told the Mail: “This sort of disproportion does cause alarm and we should be looking at why it occurs.

“We need to ensure those arrested or stopped and searched are done so for intelligence reasons only.” The figures were released by Staffordshire Police Authority ahead of a meeting next week to discuss crime statistics.

The report showed black people and members of ethic minorities were 1.3 times more likely to be arrested for criminal damage as white people and 4.5 times more likely to be arrested for fraud or forgery offences.

The report also revealed black and ethnic minority people faced a greater likelihood of being arrested for violent crimes, theft and sexual offences.

The document said such disparity in these three categories of crime would need to investigated if it continued to increase.

Staffordshire Police, however, said its increasing use of stop and search powers was due to ‘targeted, intelligence-led’ efforts ‘to reduce serious acquisitive crime’, such as theft and burglary.

Stop and search powers, introduced under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, have proved controversial in recent years with accusations that black and ethnic minority people have been unfairly targeted.

There were around 2,000 stops and searches carried out on people of all ethnicities in Staffordshire in July and a further 1,500 in August.

There have consistently been around 1,500 stops and searches carried out in the county each month since October 2011, before which the total rarely rose above 1,000.

Mr Kabal said: “Stop and search has been a concern for a long, long time. I, like many other people, am concerned about why this is.

“It’s not just Staffordshire. We know black and ethnic minority people are more likely to be stopped and searched across the country.”

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