People of ethnic minorities twice as likely to be stopped and searched by police in Gloucestershire
BLACK and minority ethnic people are twice as likely to be stopped and searched by police in Gloucestershire.
The constabulary says it is now trying to tackle the long-standing issue.
Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show officers stopped 3,958 people last year, including two 83-year-olds.
Of those stopped, 3,521 were white. This equates to one in 158 of the 556,800 white people living in Gloucestershire being stopped.
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They stopped 426 people who were black, Asian or other.
This is one in 86 of the BME (black and minority ethnic) population.
Police can stop and search anyone if they suspect they are carrying illegal drugs, a weapon, stolen property or items used in crimes like crowbars.
Youth worker Delroy Ellis, from Increase the Peace, said: "I'm not surprised by the figures. I have been stopped myself and the young people I work with say they get stopped. But some of them make a rod for their own back by acting dodgy when they see officers to wind them up."
Superintendent Rob Priddy said there had been an issue in Gloucestershire for years with a disproportionate number of black and Asian young men being stopped.
He recently led a review of the procedure, a year after the level of information officers had to record was reduced. It found "performance issues" including an increase in disproportionality and a reduction in the quality of data collected.
He is now leading an overhaul of the stop and search procedure which will include setting up forums so BME communities can share their experiences.
He said: "The constabulary is committed to improving its service delivery in this area to ensure all communities are confident we are carrying out stop and search in an operationally led and fair and equitable manner.
Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl said: "This is a sensitive issue and one that I am pleased to see the constabulary is taking very seriously."