Devon and Cornwall Police has launched a new drive to combat discrimination in policing after a study revealed how people from ethnic minorities are disproportionately dealt with.

Assistant Chief Constable Jim Colwell.Assistant Chief Constable Jim Colwell.

Figures from the police force covering April 2019 to March 2020 revealed black people in Devon and Cornwall are 12 times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people and are nine-and-a-half times more likely to be the subject of use of force.

Black people are also three times more likely to be a victim of crime.

Black people are also six times more likely to be designated as a suspect and half as likely to receive a community resolution.

Data relating to Covid-19 enforcement showed 900 fixed penalty notices were issued with black people nearly three times more likely to receive a penalty.

Devon and Cornwall Police Assistant Chief Constable Jim Colwell said: “The widespread coverage and public interest in the Black Lives Matter movement this summer has prompted a national re-examination of attitudes and practices.

“It has put the issues of equality, diversity, inclusion and fairness under greater scrutiny, including in relation to policing, but this is a much wider problem which affects society as a whole and not one that we can solve alone.

“The stark evidence of the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on people from minority ethnic communities has highlighted the devastating personal impact of racial disparity.

“It is clear from looking at our statistics and from listening to the lived experiences of ethnic minorities across the force area that we need to do more to understand this issue.

“To this end, we have launched in-depth examination of the data we collect to discover what lies behind this disproportionality and are determined to work with our communities and other agencies to address the underlying causes of racial disparity.”

Devon and Cornwall Police has launched a wide-ranging audit of its working culture, systems and practices.

This includes custody and criminal justice systems, training, recruitment, staff support, engagement and awareness as well as increasing independent advisor input at executive level from ethnic minorities.

ACC Colwell added: “I have assured people from the ethnic minority community in Devon and Cornwall that this is a genuine attempt to address this complex area – not a knee-jerk reaction – and one which will be conducted with their involvement.

“We will work harder to understand what is happening, listen very closely to what people with experiences of the police and partners are telling us and we will not hesitate to change what is not working.”