Anger over stop and search figures

BLACK people are nine times more likely to be stopped and searched by police in Ipswich than white people, figures reveal today.

BLACK people are nine times more likely to be stopped and searched by police in Ipswich than white people, figures reveal today.

Between April 2007 to March 2008 181 black people in Ipswich - equivalent to one in 12 black people - were stopped and searched, compared to one in hundred white people.

The figures have been released in a report due to be presented at the Suffolk Police Authority's monitoring and audit committee tomorrow night.

The Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality is currently conducting research into the number of stop and searches and their report is due to be released soon.

Jane Basham, director of ISCRE said: “I feel the figures continue to be unacceptable. There is a strong underlying continued trend of disproportionality in Suffolk which is rising.

“Our research in Ipswich, which has significant support from Suffolk Police, will be published shortly and we are hopeful that with the support of the police the final recommendations will be implemented and we will start to see an improvement in the picture in Suffolk.

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“This matter needs to be taken really seriously now.”

A Suffolk Police spokesman said: “In Suffolk, understanding the issues around stop and search is a priority for the constabulary and we are proactively seeking to identify the reasons behind the disparity.

“The ISCRE is continuing its research into stop and search and it is hoped that further understanding will be gained and areas for action or closer scrutiny will be highlighted.

“Stop and search has also been included in a new Single Equality Scheme recently launched by the constabulary, which will strive to ensure equality for its staff and the wider Suffolk community. The scheme has a series of action plans which will be revised every three years and covers age, disability, gender, race, religion and belief, and sexual orientation.

“As well as this ongoing work, officers are receiving extra training and information around stop search and encounters and the reporting and data collection for stop and search is being examined to see how this could give us a better picture of disproportion trends in the county.”

Further figures show there is a slight improvement in Ipswich compared to the first nine months of this period. At the end of December 2007, black people were ten times more likely to be stopped.

Meanwhile, black people in Waveney are 22 times more likely to be stopped and searched than a white person.

What is your view of the figures? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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