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12 September 2012, 06:00
The number of black and asian people stopped and searched by Thames Valley Police has fallen since they agreed to tackle the disproportionate use of the power in March last year.
The force signed an 18-month legal agreement with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to make sure people were stopped on reasonable grounds.
Thames Valley Police (TVP) has been released from the agreement early after the commission said they were satisfied the force had met its targets.
The number of people stopped fell by a quarter over the last 18 months but the number of stop and searches where there was evidence of a crime went up by 5 percent.
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.”
TVP were praised for the training of thousands of officers as well as the scrutiny and monitoring that was put in place.
ACC Bennett added: “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.”
“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.”