Boris Johnson has announced new plans to extend stop and search powers for police officers in England and Wales.

This means that officers can carry out searches without the need for “reasonable grounds”.

Section 60 powers give officers the right to search people in a defined area during a specific time period when they expect serious violence, and officers can look for weapons before they can be used, or those used in a recent attack.

Currently, grounds are classed as “unreasonable” if they are based on:

  • Supposition
  • A hunch
  • Stereotyping
  • Someone’s previous convictions
  • Vague local intelligence. For example, ‘local target out at night’ or ‘seen acting secretively’.

With the new measures in place, it could be that Lancashire Police’s stop and search data could rise in the coming years as police are given more powers to search people in an area where violence is expected.

However, how many people do Lancashire Police’s already stop and why?

Here’s everything you need to know about Lancashire Constabulary’s stop and search policy- including how many people they have stopped in the last 12 months:

What is stop and search?

Stop and search is a tactic used by the police to detect crime and make communities safer.

A spokesperson for Lancashire Constabulary said: “Currently, police officers can stop and search anyone if they have reasonable grounds for suspicion. If there’s a Section 60 in place officers can stop and search anyone in a specific area and time frame, without needing to give reasonable grounds.

“Police officers also have powers to stop and search a person if they reasonably suspect them to be a terrorist, to find out if they are carrying anything that would confirm that they are a terrorist.

“Uniformed police officers also have powers to stop and search pedestrians, vehicles and their occupants to prevent acts of terrorism. These powers are granted to the police by Sections 43 and 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000.”

You can be stopped and questioned by the police at any time whether you’re on foot or in a vehicle, but can only searched if the officer has reasonable grounds to suggest you’re carrying:

  • Illegal drugs
  • A weapon such as a knife or firearm
  • Stolen property
  • Something that could be used to commit a crime, for example a crowbar.

Searches are a community safety tactic and being searched doesn’t mean you’re being arrested.

However, officers need to be able to justify why they have stopped and searched someone.

 This may be based on, but isn’t limited to:

  • Time of day
  • Location. For example, a crime hot spot
  • The way a person is behaving, which they would need to describe in detail
  • Information they’ve received. For example, that someone is regularly carrying weapons or drugs.

Lancashire’s stop and search data

Using data, we have tracked down the most recent stop and search data from Lancashire Constabulary.

It includes data from May 2020- May 2021.

According to the data, 12,751 people were stopped by Lancashire Police between these months.

However, in a whopping 77.8 per cent of stop and searches, no further action was required or taken by Lancashire Police.

12 per cent of searches ended in an arrest and 13 people were given a caution.

According to the data, the aim of the majority of Lancashire Police’s stop and searches were to look for ‘articles for use in criminal damage’ (57 per cent).

In other words, they have been looking for articles which were used to destroy or damage property.

13 per cent of searches were for ‘articles used in theft’ and 14 per cent of searches were related to fireworks.

During this time, 52 people were searched for firearms and 145 for offensive weapons- knives included.  

But who did Lancashire Police tend to stop more often?

Of these people, over 56 per cent self-identified as White (English/ Welsh/ Scottish/ Northern Irish and British).

In total, 22 per cent of those stopped and searched were part of the BAME group (Black Asian and minority ethnic).

10 per cent were an ‘unspecified ethnic group’ and 6.8 per cent were Asian/Asian British- Pakistani.

The majority of people involved in stop and search were male (84 per cent). 9.3 per cent were female while 0.1 per cent identified as another gender.

According to the data, those age 18-24 were most commonly involved in stop and searched (28.4 per cent).

22.2 per cent of cases involved those age 25-34 and 22.1 per cent involved those 34 and over.


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