Cambridgeshire Police have said they are addressing their approach to “disproportionality” in the use of stop and search.
It comes after Home Office figures showed black residents were seven times more likely to be searched than white people in this county.
The figures show 1,920 black or black British residents, per 100,000 people, were stopped and searched by Cambridgeshire Police in year up to March 2021.
The rate for Asian or Asian British residents was 824 per 100,000, and for people of mixed ethnic background, the rate was 524. For white people, the rate was 256.
Assistant Chief Constable Vicki Evans, from Cambridgeshire Police, said: “Stop and search is vital tactic that we use to keep the public safe. We know it can be an intrusive police power, and as such, must be used professionally and with great care.
“It is an area we diligently scrutinise to ensure we are policing fairly. We have a community reference group, who support us by providing valuable feedback on the use of this power in addition to our internal supervisory procedures.
“We are actively addressing our approach to disproportionality in the use of stop and search, which is tracked and reviewed to ensure we uphold an ethical position and proportionate and lawful use of this power."
How does stop and search work?
Police can use two types of powers when it comes to stopping and searching people.
Section 1 allows a constable to stop and search any person or vehicle but they must have a reasonable suspicion that they will find items including drugs or weapons.
Section 60 powers allow officers to search people without reasonable grounds or suspicion of wrongdoing in areas where they anticipate violence.
The Home Office announced it’s lifting restrictions on Section 60 searches this week, which means officers will now be able to use powers for longer periods.
The Peterborough Telegraph’s sister paper, NationalWorld, analysed the latest Home Office data.
It found that nationally black people were 13 times more likely to be subject to section 60 searches in the year to March 2021.
Section 60 searches were carried out nine times in Cambridgeshire, twice on Asian residents, once on a resident of mixed ethnic background and six times on white residents.
‘Ethical policing key pillar’
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Darryl Preston said: “Stop and search is an important policing power and one I fully support to keep all our communities safe.
"However, I am acutely aware it is a concern for some. I would like to reassure communities that ethical policing is a key pillar in my Police and Crime Plan and I have I pledged to ensure the police act with integrity and social responsibility, promoting a culture that is inclusive, diverse and takes equality seriously.
“The constabulary’s use of stop and search is routinely checked through Community Scrutiny Panels. The panel is chaired by an independent volunteer who is responsible for selecting incidents for scrutiny and conducting the Panel meetings.
“Volunteer panel members examine records, officer statements and body worn video footage and then provide feedback to the constabulary to help shape the organisation so they can serve communities in the manner which they expect and deserve.”