Labour MPs ask: 'Why are black people three times more likely to be stopped and searched by Beds Police?'
Three local Labour MPs have penned a letter to Bedfordshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) after figures revealed ethnic minorities are much more likely to be stopped and searched in the county.
Luton North MP Sarah Owen, Luton South MP Rachel Hopkins and Bedford MP Mohammad Yasin jointly wrote to PCC Kathryn Holloway about the "disproportionate" use of stop and search against black and ethnic minority communities.
The Home Office figures came to light following our previous report here.
The three MPs wrote to Mrs Holloway: "We are writing to you regarding the concerning Home Office figures that show black people in Bedfordshire are three times more likely to be stopped and searched by Bedfordshire Police.
"The latest Home Office data states that officers in Bedfordshire carried out 3,476 stop and searches from March 2019 to March 2020 - this represents an increase from 2,274 the previous year.
"Of the stop and searches where an individual's ethnicity was recorded, Office for National Statistics (ONS) mid-2016 population figures inform the estimation that 8.8 black people per 100,000 were stopped and searched, compared to 3 white people per 100,000. Furthermore, this data estimates that 6.8 people from black, Asian or minority ethnic groups were stopped per 100,000.
"We recognise the legality of stop and search powers under Section One of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1894, however, we hold deep concerns about its application. Across the country people have voiced concerns about the power to stop and search disproportionally targeting black people.
"As the Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire, we would like you to outline what steps you are taking to address the disproportionality of the application of stop and search powers.
"The response that you provide will be critical to maintaining trust between communities in our region and Bedfordshire Police."
In response, a spokesman from Mrs Holloway's office said: "The PCC has no comment at this time."