Rise in police use of stop and search in Derbyshire

Derbyshire Constabulary conducted hundreds of more stop and searches last year, figures show, though fewer led to an arrest.

Monday, 22nd November 2021, 3:57 pm

StopWatch UK said declining arrest rates across England and Wales suggest that relations between the police and the public are deteriorating.

Home Office data shows officers in Derbyshire used their stop and search powers 2,214 times in the year to March – which is up from 1,778 the year before.

However, despite this rise, the proportion of searches which led to an arrest fell from 17% to 10% over this same period.

Home Office data shows officers in Derbyshire used stop and search powers 2,214 times in the year to March – up from 1,778 the year before.

Across England and Wales as a whole, the total number of stop and searches carried out by police officers rose from 577,000 in 2019-20 to 704,000 in 2020-21.

This means almost 2,000 people were stopped per day on average last year, with figures peaking in mid-May 2020, when the re were almost 3,000 searches carried out each day.

But the national arrest rate fell from 13% to 11% – the lowest level since 2012-13.

Data for Greater Manchester Police is excluded from yearly comparisons because the force was unable to provide complete figures for 2019-20.

Campiagn group StopWatch UK, which describes itsellf as ‘turning a spotlight on stop and search and campaigning against the overpolicing of marginalised communities’, said the vast majority of searches cause more problems than they solve.

Habib Kadiri, research and policy manager at the police monitoring organisation, said a fall in arrest rates reflects fears that police-community relations are backsliding.

The figures also show that across England and Wales, black people were significantly more likely to be searched than white people, though slightly less so than the year before.

In Derbyshire, they were 14.1 times more likely to be stopped, which compares with a figure of 7.8 in 2019-20.

Mr Kadiri added: "What is exceptional is how racial disparities persisted even during a global pandemic, proving that the police never stopped working tirelessly to overpolice people of colour.

“We simply would not accept this of any other emergency service profession. The police must do better.”

Across the two nations, 479,000 (68% of all stops) were for drugs – the highest proportion since records began in 2006-07.

In Derbyshire, 64% of stop and searches were for this reason – down from 66 in 2019-20.

Dr Laura Garius, who is the policy lead for Release, which comprises experts on drug laws, said black and other ethnic minority individuals are being disproportionately targeted, despite the fact that drug use is no higher among these groups than among the white population.

She added: "The declining find and arrest rates are further proof that these powers are over-used, ineffective, and harmful to black and brown communities – in particular, black men – as well as those living in lower-income areas."

The Home Office said police used extra officers and resources to tackle drug crime during the coronavirus lockdown, and also removed almost 16,000 dangerous weapons from our streets.

A spokesman for the ministry added: “No one should be targeted for stop and search because of their race and there are extensive safeguards in place to prevent this.”