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The force has a commitment to becoming more open and transparent. Part of this is being better at sharing and engaging on some of the powers that our police officers use to keep people safe, and that includes Stop and Search.
We believe that greater scrutiny will further ensure that our use of these is right and proper.
What are we searching for?
Eastleigh is currently actively targeted by around nine county lines drugs networks who are looking to take a foothold. This can lead to associated violence, the most vulnerable of society being targeted and have a serious impact on local communities.
Countering Drug Related Harm is one of our districts key priorities.
This is reflected in our searches, with 100 of the 147 conducted being done so where there was suspicion of drugs being present. We have also carried out 17 searches for offensive weapons.
Is our use of stop and search in Eastleigh proportionate?
In the last quarter, our data shows a black person is 6.3 times more likely to be stopped than a white person, while a person of mixed race was 2.6 times more likely.
This is calculated using population data from the 2021 Census. Ove this period, officers in Eastleigh stopped five black people, of a variety of ages. Three of these being attributable to county lines and have resulted in two people being found in possession of a large quantity of Class A drugs, as well as a female found in possession of stolen clothing.
Within the constabulary, stop and search is scrutinised by line managers and local Inspectors, to ensure we are using it lawfully and proportionately, as well as looking to make sure it remains the most suitable police power to use. In one case in the last quarter, this review has led to us considering alternative tactics to investigate a high risk perpetrator having reflected on our use of this power.
We know that some families who have lost loved ones to violence and drug related harm advocate police searches but we also know many people have concerns about whether policing powers are used fairly. As a force we know that it helps us to keep people safe and spend considerable time scrutinising how it is used. But, we also recognise that our view alone is not enough.
We need views from others so we are doing far more engagement than we did previously. Scrutiny involving our Independent Advisory Groups (made up of members of the public) is therefore part of our approach, and we would encourage people all of our communities to get involved in these groups. We also want to hear more views on Stop and Search. Follow us on Facebook if you’d like to take part in discussions about policing in your local area.
Where can I find more information about Stop & Search in Eastleigh?
You can see more about the numbers by looking at the infographic, below. We have also provided the same data in a different format if that is easier for you.
The current district priorities for Eastleigh are: