Greater Manchester Police conducted stop and searches to reduce crime rates in the borough

Greater Manchester Police conducted over 10,000 stop and searches last year, figures show.
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StopWatch UK said declining arrest rates across England and Wales suggest that relations between the police and the public are deteriorating.

Home Office data shows officers in Greater Manchester used stop and search powers 11,748 times in the year to March.

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Of these, just nine percent of searches led to an arrest, which was below the national average.

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Stop and Search

Across England and Wales, the number of stop and searches rose from 577,000 in 2019-20 to 704,000 in 2020-21.

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But the national arrest rate fell from 13% to 11% – the lowest level since 2012-13.

Data for Greater Manchester Police is excluded from yearly comparisons because the force was unable to provide complete figures for 2019-20.

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StopWatch UK said the vast majority of searches cause more problems than they solve.

Habib Kadiri, research and policy manager at the police monitoring organisation, said a fall in arrest rates reflects fears that police-community relations are backsliding.

The figures also show that across England and Wales, black people were significantly more likely to be searched than white people, though slightly less so than the year before.

In Greater Manchester, they were 3.9 times more likely to be stopped.

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Mr Kadiri added: “What is exceptional is how racial disparities persisted even during a global pandemic, proving that the police never stopped working tirelessly to overpolice people of colour.

“We simply would not accept this of any other emergency service profession. The police must do better.”

Across the two nations, 479,000 (68% of all stops) were for drugs – the highest proportion since records began in 2006-07.

In Greater Manchester, 60% of stop and searches were for this reason.

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Dr Laura Garius, policy lead for Release, which comprises experts on drug laws, said black and other ethnic minority individuals are being disproportionately targeted, despite drug use being no higher among these groups than among the white population.

She added: “The declining find and arrest rates are further proof that these powers are over-used, ineffective, and harmful to black and brown communities – in particular, black men – as well as those living in lower-income areas.”

The Home Office said police used extra officers and resources to tackle drug crime during the coronavirus lockdown, and also removed almost 16,000 dangerous weapons from our streets.

A spokesman added: “No one should be targeted for stop and search because of their race and there are extensive safeguards in place to prevent this.”

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