Police disrupt county lines activity on 210 occasions in last year

Police said the increase in use of stop-and-search reflected the force’s proactive approach to ident

Use of stop and search has continued to increase since 2019, when it went up for the first time since 2014 - Credit: Archant

Suffolk police disrupted county lines drug-dealing activity on more than 200 occasions in the last year, latest figures have revealed.

Details were included in a report on Suffolk Constabulary's increasing use of stop and search powers.

The report, covering the use of powers in the 12 months to March 31, was discussed by the police and crime commissioner's accountability and performance panel on Friday. 

According to the force's county lines disruptions log, activity was disrupted on 210 occasions during the reporting period - including 158 times in the south policing area, which includes Ipswich, and where about 400g of heroin, more than 1,000 wraps of class A drugs and 210g cannabis was seized. 

Officers used stop and search powers on 5,244 occasions across Suffolk in the last year – up by more than half on the previous year (3,426). 

On average, people of black, Asian or minority ethnic background were about 3.2 times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people, compared to four times more likely the year before.

Use of stop-and-search rose in 2019 for the first time since the introduction of the Best Use of Stop and Search (BUSS) scheme in April 2014, when the government set out new guidance to achieve greater transparency, community involvement and a more intelligence-led approach.

Most Read

Assistant Chief Constable Rob Jones told the panel that he thought overall standards of stop and search were very strong, and that, despite 60% of all searches resulting in no further action, outcome rates were high in comparison to other forces.

Phanuel Mutumburi, of Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE), which holds regular public Stop and Search Reference Group meetings to scrutinise the force's use of the powers, said the impact of their improper use could be very negative on those affected.

However, he added: "The purpose of the reference group is to bring that lived experience to officers so they better understand the tool that's in their pocket when they go out."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter