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Devon and Cornwall Police: Black people 'more likely to be stopped'

image captionNew figures show black people in Devon and Cornwall are more likely to be a victim of crime than white people

Police are 12 times more likely to stop and search a black person than a white person in Devon and Cornwall, figures released by the force show.

Devon and Cornwall Police say they also show a black person is 9.5 times more likely to be subjected to force.

Assistant Chief Constable Jim Colwell said the force was releasing the figures to "start a conversation about disproportionality and inequality".

"Policing has a few questions to answer," he said.

ACC Colwell, who described the figures as "stark and concerning", said they had been released following discussions with representatives from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME) communities.

The figures, from between April 2019 and March 2020, show a black person is three times more likely to be a victim of crime in the counties than a white person.

Both Devon and Cornwall have low numbers of people from BAME backgrounds. But when asked if this could skew the figures ACC Colwell said: "In many areas of these statistics the numbers are actually really low but I wouldn't seek to explain them away like that.

"There are still questions that need to be answered."

He added: "I think [there is] an interesting point about the level of diversity within communities across Devon and Cornwall and what that means about how tolerant, open and inclusive some of our communities actually are in comparison to other parts of the country."

Black people are also six times more likely to be designated as a suspect and half as likely to receive a community resolution.

image captionAssistant Chief Constable Jim Colwell described the figures as "stark" and "concerning"

Data relating to Covid enforcement shows that 900 fixed penalty notices (FPN) were issued with black individuals 2.8 times more likely to receive an FPN.

Asked why this was happening, ACC Colwell said that was the "question we are seeking to answer".

He said the force, which he did not believe was institutionally racist, was not trying to "defend" the figures.

"We are a good force that is trying to be better," he said, adding that this was a "genuine attempt to address this complex area - not a knee-jerk reaction" and one that would be conducted with the involvement of the ethnic minority community.

Devon and Cornwall Police has launched an audit of its working culture, systems and practices, in response to a renewed focus around race and policing this summer, in the wake of the death of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests.

Related Topics

  • Devon & Cornwall Police
  • BAME communities
  • Policing

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