Stop and search figures concern

BLACK people are almost eight times more likely to be stopped and searched by police in Suffolk than white people, new figures reveal today.

BLACK people are almost eight times more likely to be stopped and searched by police in Suffolk than white people, new figures reveal today.

Officers stopped the equivalent of 26.2 black people out of every 1,000 to carry out searches in the 11 months up to February - compared to 3.4 out of every 1,000 white people.

The chairman of Suffolk Police Authority said a major investigation may have distorted the figures but admitted some “hard questions” needed to be asked.

The position has worsened since the end of April last year when black people were seven times more likely to be stopped by police in the county.

The new figures are revealed in a report which will be discussed by members of Suffolk Police Authority on Friday.

Gulshan Kayembe, Suffolk Police Authority chairman, said the increased ratio of stop searches in the black community was not unexpected because of the major investigation into the fatal shooting of Jimoh Plunkett, from south London, in Ipswich's Zest nightclub on Saturday, December 9.

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However, she said: “We would not be fulfilling our duty to the black and ethnic community if we don't ask some quite hard questions. The police authority is very keen to be working with organisations such as ISCRE (Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality) to make sure people are not being stopped and searched for the wrong reasons.”

The figures show between April 2006 and February 2007, people from a mixed background were three times more likely to be stopped and searched by police than white people, while people from an Asian background were twice as likely.

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