West Yorkshire figures show stop and search use falling

Two police officers were injured in the collision which occurred in the early hours of this morning.
Two police officers were injured in the collision which occurred in the early hours of this morning.

The proportion of people arrested after being stopped and searched by police in West Yorkshire has risen, the latest figures have shown.

Data released by the Office for National Statistics yesterday revealed that 14,697 people were subject to searches in 2015/16 – a decrease of 32 per cent on the previous year.

Of those people, 1,624 were then arrested on suspicion of committing an offence.

They accounted for 11 per cent of all those stopped, up from nine per cent in 2014/15.

Superintendent Kate Jowett, of West Yorkshire Police, said: “Stop and search powers are really important to help us prevent and detect crime, and over the past two years we have been working hard to make better use of this technique.”

The force was one of the first to join the Home Office Best Use of Stop and Search scheme in 2014.

Supt Jowett said: “As these figures show, this more intelligence led and targeted approach has delivered a reduction in stop searches.

“We are also now making more arrests from the searches and continue to seek to increase our arrest rates.”

The total number of stop and searches is equivalent to 17 people per 1,000 across the county.

Of those stopped, 10,108 were white; 2,188 were Asian or Asian British, and 409 were black or black British.

Analysis of national figures revealed that people from black and minority ethnic groups were three times more likely to be stopped than a white a person, while black people were six times more likely to be stopped.

Labour MP Yvette Cooper, chairwoman of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, said the figures raise “important questions” for the police and the Home Office.

Police are preparing to slash the number of stop and searches carried out in their communities as part of a crackdown on unjustified use of the controversial powers.

Forces across England and Wales will not be able to search people simply on “gut instinct” if they look suspicious, and will instead be told to record the reason and explain it to the potential suspect.

The drive, prompted by College of Policing research, is designed to “give officers confidence to use their powers”, with an extra focus on fairness, legality, professionalism and transparency.

Officers will also be given training in the new year to recognise their own “unconscious bias” against minority groups such as children and eastern Europeans.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “I am clear that in a Britain that works for everyone, no one should be stopped on the basis of their race or ethnicity.

“The Home Office will continue to push through reform to stop and search in collaboration with policing partners, but chief officers must provide the direction and focus needed locally to drive reform on the ground.”