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TVP cuts unreasonable minority stop and searches



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The force signed an agreement with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in March 2011 following concerns it was unfairly targeting ethnic minorities.
Earlier this month the Commission wrote to Thames Valley Police chief constable Sara Thornton to confirm that it was satisfied with steps taken.
Assistant chief constable Richard Bennett said: “This is an issue that the Force has taken extremely seriously and we are pleased that the Commission has agreed to end the legally-binding agreement slightly earlier than expected.”
“The power to stop and search is a valuable tool in tackling criminality.
However, Thames Valley Police recognises that its use must be carefully applied to ensure lawfulness and minimise disproportionality.”
“The Commission has praised the training that has been provided to officers and the rigorous scrutiny and monitoring that has been put in place by our management team.”
“Overall use of ‘reasonable grounds’ Stop and Search has reduced by a large proportion for member of all racial groups and race disproportionality has decreased and the targets set by the Commission have been met.”
“It has been made clear to all officers in Thames Valley Police that Stop and Search is a power that is to be used sensitively and only where there are reasonable grounds for doing so and this is reflected by the results achieved.”
“We have worked closely with the Commission and it has helped us improve the effectiveness of Stop and Search in Thames Valley Police.”
“As a force we are focusing on training and making sure that every Stop and Search is lawful, proportionate and necessary. This has resulted in a reduction in the number of searches, an increase in positive outcomes and a reduction in race disproportionality.”
The EHRC contacted five forces including Thames Valley Police, in 2010 following a review of stop and search powers over the previous 10 years.
It said the force's officers had also discriminated against ethnic minorities, either directly or indirectly, and that black people were six times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people.
Asian people were twice as likely to be stopped as white people, according to the report.
The forces were warned over possible enforcement action over a misuse of powers.
Thames Valley Police re-trained thousands of officers and issued a new set of issued guidelines to enable it to hit the targets.



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