Increased stops and searches in western Mercia with fewer arrests, figures show



Home Office data shows officers used stop and search powers 6,042 times in the year through March, up from 4,785 the year before.

Despite this increase, the proportion of searches resulting in arrest increased from 18% to 13% over this period.

Three out of five stops were drug-related, up slightly from the previous year.

Police bosses say the stop and search is a “vital tool” in protecting people from harm and that stops are carried out according to the rules and on “reasonable grounds.”

This is because StopWatch UK claims that the vast majority of searches cause more problems than they solve.

Habib Kadiri, head of research and policy at the police watchdog organization, said a drop in arrest rates – which has occurred nationwide – reflects fears of a regression police-community relations.

West Mercia Police Chief Superintendent Beth Bridges said: power to arrest, when officer has reasonable grounds to search.

“The increase in the number of stops and searches carried out by West Mercia police officers shown in these latest figures reflects a similar increase nationwide.

“In addition, the rate of positive results following a check and search carried out by officers in western Mercia is above the national average, which reassures us that our officers are exercising these powers properly. carefully.

“We monitor our stops and searches and welcome scrutiny to ensure that these powers are fair, transparent, and both appropriate and proportionate. “

She said police forces recently set up independent checks and searches committees with members of all demographic groups in the community to provide additional information and commentary.

In central Wales, data shows Dyfed and Powys officers used arrest and search powers 3,476 times in the year through March, up from 3,249 the previous year .

The proportion of searches resulting in arrest increased from 15% to 18% during this period.

About four out of five arrests concerned drugs, up from 72% in 2019-2020.

In England and Wales, the number of arrests and searches increased from 577,000 in 2019-2020 to 704,000 in 2020-21.

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

In both countries, 479,000 (68% of all checks) were drug-related – the highest proportion since the records began in 2006-07.

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

A spokesperson added: “No one should be the target of a stop and search because of their race and extensive safeguards are in place to prevent this. “


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