A disproportionate amount of black and Asian people are being stopped and searched by Northamptonshire Police, according to the county’s racial equality council.
Latest figures show that 9,521 people were stopped and searched last year and 7,406 of these were white (77.6 per cent). However, white people account for 86 per cent of the county’s population.
In total, 303 Asian, 659 black and 295 mixed race people were stopped and searched by Northamptonshire Police in 2013.
The arrest rate for black people was 8.7 per cent, which is the highest arrest rate of the main ethnic groups, although this rate has fallen over the last two years.
Anjona Roy, of Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council, said the figures “spoke for themselves” and said she believed the force needed to be more open about the disproportion of black and Asian people being stopped and searched.
She said: “We have been in discussions with Northamptonshire Police over the last year now, making suggestions about how they could change things to reduce stop and search and get it used more effectively, but the figures showing an increase in stop and search in Northamptonshire speak for themselves.
“This is at a time when many other local forces have brought its use down and reduced disproportionately. The force know that local people want to know, yet they produce data on stop and search that says everything but what the disproportionately figures are for black and Asian people. Is that really transparency and accountability?”
Ms Roy said the equality council also had concerns about a survey on stop and search currently being conducted by the Office of the Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC).
The survey, which can be completed at www.surveymonkey.com/s/StopandSearch, is asking people who have been stopped and searched to share their views on the policing technique but Ms Roy said the questions “presumed” it was an effective policing tool.
She said: “We believe that in order to get the right questions they should have consulted those concerned about the use of it first.”
Superintendent Andrew Cox, of Northmaptonshire Police said stop and search was a useful tactic to help prevent, deter and detect crime.
Number of stop and searches by Northamptonshire Police stop and search by ethnicity (The figures relate, left to right, for 2009 through to 2013)
Asian 441; 532; 365; 267; 303
Black 658; 624; 580; 574; 659
Mixed 325; 372; 294; 272; 295
Not Stated 815; 1,017; 731; 640; 723
Other 40; 53; 40; 37; 61
Unknown 96; 90; 83; 89; 74
White 9,178; 10,377; 7,434; 6,352; 7,406