Herts Police: Black people ‘4.7 times more likely to be stopped and searched by police’

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Black people are 4.7 times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police in Hertfordshire than white, according to new figures.

The data - discussed by Hertfordshire Police and Crime Panel on June 13 - shows there were 7,103 recorded ‘stop and searches’ from March 2018 to February 2019.

But it says, “stop and search is used disproportionately between ethnic groups in Herts”.

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The report suggests that cross-border movement and differences in how ethnicity is recorded - by police and those searched - can affect the data.

But scrutiny panel chairman Jeffrey Burke says it continues to “trouble” the panel members.

“The panel has continued to ask questions about the apparent disparity between  stop and searches of those from minorities and others,” says Mr Burke in the foreword to the annual report.

“The disparity is smaller in Hertfordshire than in many other similar areas - and the panel’s work has been handicapped by a lack of an up-to-date statistical picture of the relevant population - but this is an issue which has troubled and will continue to trouble the panel, and the panel must remain on its toes.”

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In the report police and crime commissioner David Lloyd points to the role of ‘stop and search’ powers as a deterrent, but stresses it must be done “fairly, ethically and with just cause”.
And he welcomes the reviews of body worn cameras that shows police to be “courteous and polite”.

However Mr Burke suggests that “often” body worn cameras are switched on “too late”.

And the report says: “The panel have reiterated a concern from last year that officers commonly do not turn on their camera early enough. In these cases, the panel are often unable to see the full interaction, making the review of footage more difficult.”