England

Thames Valley Police's stop and search figures drop

Thames Valley Police has carried out fewer stop and searches but black and Asian people are still being targeted disproportionately, figures show.

Since January, stop and searches fell 40% from 7,429 to 4,414, compared to the same period last year, a report by the chief constable said.

The force has been accused of unfairly targeting ethnic minorities by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Thames Valley Police said it did not want to comment.

The number of Asian people stopped and searched since January 2011 was 2.7 for every white person, compared with 2.21 in 2010.

Search review

The number of black people stopped and searched by the force since January 2011 was 3.2 for every white person, compared with 3.8 in 2010, the chief constable's report said.

However in 2007-8, the force had a "disproportionality ratio" of 6.4 for searches of black people and 3.0 for searches of Asian people.

In May 2010, the EHRC carried out a review of stop and search powers across England and Wales, over the past decade.

It showed black people were six times as likely to be stopped and searched as white people, with Asian people twice as likely to be stopped as white people.

Thames Valley Police was among five forces it contacted.

New guidelines

The EHRC subsequently warned the force in November it could face enforcement action, after saying it had "misused stop and search powers directly or indirectly in an unlawful, discriminatory way contrary to the Race Relations Act 1976".

It said the force's officers had also discriminated against ethnic minorities, either directly or indirectly.

In January Thames Valley Police issued new guidelines to its front-line staff as well as implementing a £270,000 re-training programme of 3,000 officers.

A report found there had been "no appreciable effect on crime levels" following the fall in overall stop and searches.

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