New study on how the police use stop and search powers in Notts
ONE of the biggest-ever studies of its kind is to be undertaken on how the police use stop and search powers in Notts.
The research follows figures from last year showing black people were around nine times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people.
It is hoped 1,000 people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds will take part in the project announced by new Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping.
It is being led by Professor Cecile Wright, a sociology specialist and an honorary academic at the University of Nottingham.
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She said: "People have legal rights and policing is essential to civilised society and that has to be done by consensus.
"The more support they get from local communities the more effective policing is likely to be."
Prof Wright said the research will involve asking people about how satisfied they are with the force, their experiences of stop and search and their thoughts on how representative of the Notts population the force is.
A small pilot survey for the project – which involved nearly 30 black and ethnic minority Notts people – revealed about half had been stopped and searched, she added.
The final results of the full research are expected later this year.
Dr Sheine Peart, a senior lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, is one of the founders of the Black On Track group and said she supported the research.
The group meets at Central College as a cultural support group for young black Notts men in further education.
Dr Peart said: "It's better to have a more firm evidence base about stop and search."
She added: "You can get a situation where people say 'you can't trust the police and if anyone is going to be stopped and searched it's me'.
"It's almost a resigned acceptance – that's not equality and it's not justice.
"We need a knowledge base and that's why this work is important."
Chief Superintendent Simon Nickless, divisional commander for the city for Notts Police, welcomed the research.
He added: "We view stop and search as a legitimate tool to help make our communities safer but it must be used appropriately.
"This is why we have been putting so much work into training our officers on not only how they go about using and recording it but also the approach they take.
"We've taken on board feedback from the community and we are now in our second phase of training around the impact on community relations.
"As a force we are committed to tackling this and we are continuing to put things in place to ensure the public has confidence in us."