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Suffolk Constabulary

About this focus area

StopWatch is proud to support the Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Race Equality (ISCRE), Suffolk's leading voice for equality and a local partner of ours for many years.

In 2016, we will work together to ensure that communities are able to meet and question their candidates for the PCC 2016 elections.

Campaign coordinated in Suffolk by:

  • Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality

About this force

Area 490 square miles
Number of officers 1,195
Number of PCSOs 163
Recording stop and account? Yes
Force website Visit website

About the PCC in this area

Police & Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore (Conservative)
Email address spcc@suffolk.pnn.police.uk
PCC website Visit website
Key statements on stop and search

​”New Stop and Search training will be undertaken to ensure tactical, and appropriate, use of stop and search to solve and prevent crime”

How many searches do police do?

April 2018 – March 2019

The police conducted 1,891 stop and searches under PACE Section 1 across the area covered by Suffolk Constabulary.

This was an increase of 51% from the previous year.

There were 44 stop and searches under Section 60 Criminal Justice & Public Order Act, a power which doesn’t require individual reasonable suspicion.

April 2017 – March 2018

The police conducted 1,254 stop and searches under PACE Section 1 across the area covered by Suffolk Constabulary.

This was a reduction of 37% 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 1,978 stop and searches under PACE Section 1 across the area covered by Suffolk Constabulary.

This was a reduction of 24% from the previous year.

Stop and account

Suffolk Constabulary record stop and accounts.

Suffolk is one of only nine police forces in England and Wales that record stop and accounts.

In 2013/14, a total of 8,406 recorded stop and accounts where carried out across the force. Of these:

7,204 were of whites
318 were of blacks
102 were of Asians
310 were of people from mixed backgrounds
8 were of Chinese people or those from other backgrounds

This means that blacks were subject to an account at 4.5 times the rate of whites, Asians at 0.9 times that rate, mixed people at 2.4 times the rate of whites, and those from Chinese or Other backgrounds were encountered at 0.2 times the rate of whites.

What are searches targeted at?

Target Proportion of searches
Drugs67%
Offensive weapons14%
Stolen property10%
Going equipped7%
Other1%
Firearms1%
Criminal damage1%

How effective are police stop and searches?

A staggering 67% of all searches carried out by Suffolk's police officers in 2018/19 were for drugs rather than serious or violent crime. Most of these are likely to have involved low-level possession of drugs (usually cannabis) rather than suppliers despite the force being engaged in anti-drugs operations aimed at targeting suppliers.

April 2018 – March 2019

18% of stop and searches conducted under PACE Section 1 lead to an arrest.

16% of stop and searches conducted under Section 60 Criminal Justice & Public Order Act lead to an arrest.

April 2017 – March 2018

17% of stop and searches conducted under PACE Section 1 lead to an arrest.

April 2016 – March 2017

12% of stop and searches conducted under PACE Section 1 lead to an arrest.

Who is getting searched?

Disproportionality is high in Suffolk for black and mixed race people: In 2018/19, they were stopped and searched at eight and a half times the rate of whites. People from mixed backgrounds were searched ten and a half times the rate of whites. Asians (1.8) and those identifying as Chinese or 'other' (1.6) were searched at nearly twice the rate of whites.

It is important to note that Suffolk's disproportionality has a history of extreme variation and this is likely due to the force's anti-drugs operations. Some caution is required in interpreting these figures as Suffolk's use of stop and search is relatively low in comparison to other forces.

There were 44 searches conducted under section 60; this is a power that does not require officers to suspect a person is carrying weapons in order to search them for those items.

PACE disproportionality ratios

Ethnic groups Ratio
White : Black 1 : 8.5
White : Asian 1 : 1.8
White : Mixed 1 : 10.5
White : Other 1 : 1.6

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