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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

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Cumbria police defend ‘stop and search’ tactics

Only three per cent of police stop-and-searches in Cumbria over six months led to arrests – but force chiefs say the tactic can be “fundamental in dealing with crime”.

New figures show 238 arrests were made following nearly 7,300 cases, with drugs suspicions prompting the highest number of stops, followed by action concentrating on stolen property.

The force says the figures should not be taken out of context as arrests are often a “last option” and do not take into account other outcomes.

These can include a warning being issued, suspects being given a summons to court or people voluntarily going to a station after being stopped.

Cumbria’s chief constable Stuart Hyde also pointed out that the main purpose was so officers could confirm any suspicions they might have “without needing to arrest”.

The most recently available statistics, issued to the watchdog monitoring Cumbria’s police force, give an overview of the reasons behind stop-and-search action in the county.

Between April and September last year, figures show 1,956 stops were conducted following suspicions that people may be connected to the theft of property.

Suspicions over drugs led to 3,838 cases, 84 were classed as firearms cases, 370 involved suspicions about an offensive weapon and 502 involved people allegedly going equipped for crime.

A number of other cases are not classified under a particular crime category.

Drugs allegations led to the most arrests – 178 – while 35 people were held in connection with allegations over stolen property. One was arrested in a firearms case, nine in connection with an offensive weapon, six for allegedly going equipped and one for alleged vandalism.

Mr Hyde said: “A police officer must be able to justify their reason for stopping someone, if requested. Information which police officers can gather from stopping people can be fundamental in dealing with crime in our county.”

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