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Avon & Somerset Police

About this focus area

StopWatch is working with local youth groups and charities in Bristol as part of an advocacy programme designed to empower young people to address their concerns on policing.

About this force

Area 1,855 square miles
Recording stop and account? No
Force website Visit website

About the PCC in this area

Police & Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens (Independent)
Email address pcc@avonandsomerset.pnn.police.uk
PCC website Visit website

How many searches do police do?

April 2017 – March 2018

The police conducted 5,918 stop and searches under PACE Section 1 across the area covered by Avon & Somerset Police.

This was a reduction of 6% from the previous year.

There were 0 stop and searches under Section 60 Criminal Justice & Public Order Act, a power which doesn’t require individual reasonable suspicion.

April 2016 – March 2017

The police conducted 6,312 stop and searches under PACE Section 1 across the area covered by Avon & Somerset Police.

This was an increase of 13% from the previous year.

There were 0 stop and searches under Section 60 Criminal Justice & Public Order Act, a power which doesn’t require individual reasonable suspicion.

Stop and account

Avon & Somerset Police do not record stop and accounts.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary no longer record stop and accounts. The last available data showed that black people were stopped at a rate of 3.3 of white people in Avon and Somerset (2008-09).

What are searches targeted at?

Target Proportion of searches
Drugs58%
Going equipped11%
Other10%
Offensive weapons10%
Stolen property7%
Criminal damage2%
Firearms2%

How effective are police stop and searches?

Drugs accounts for the single largest reason for searches carried out by Avon & Somsert's police officers (58% in 2017/18) instead of being directed at serious or violent crimes. Most of these are likely to have targeted low-level possession of drugs, mainly cannabis, rather than disrupt the supply chain.

April 2017 – March 2018

8% of stop and searches conducted under PACE Section 1 lead to an arrest.

April 2016 – March 2017

8% of stop and searches conducted under PACE Section 1 lead to an arrest.

Who is getting searched?

Disproportionality is high across Avon & Somerset, particularly for black people. In 2017/18, and despite a fall in overall volume of stops and searches, black people were searched at just over nine times the rate of white people. People of mixed backgrounds were searched and just over three times the rate of whites (an increase on previous years). Asians were searched at almost one and a half times the rate of whites. Only people from  Chinese or other ethnic minority backgrounds were searched at a lower rate than white people across Avon and Somerset.

There were no recorded searches under section 60 as in previous years. Section 60 is a power that does not require officers to believe that a person is carrying weapons in order to search them for such items.

PACE disproportionality ratios

Ethnic groups Ratio
White : Black 1 : 9.3
White : Asian 1 : 1.4
White : Mixed 1 : 3.4
White : Other 1 : 0.6

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