The Sussex police and crime commissioner has said new figures have shown a black person was 11 times more likely to be stopped and searched by officers in the county last year.

Katy Bourne will be questioning the figures at a Performance and Accountability meeting today (Friday, 19).

The commisioner also said members of the black and minority ethnic (BME) community overall were three times more likely to be stopped.

Sussex Police has acknowledged there is a higher proportion and said it is a ‘familiar picture’ nationally.

Ms Bourne, who will be talking to the chief constable Giles York, said:

“I will be asking about the reasons for this apparent disproportionality and seeking to learn what measures have been put in place to ensure that every stop and search is justified and likely to have a positive outcome in reducing crime.”

Inspector Simon Starns said:

“We know we have a big challenge in this area and are taking positive action to look at all our results which are fed into our legitimacy board chaired by assistant chief constable Steve Barry.

“Officers who have been identified as having a higher than average stop and search rate for BME subjects are undergoing extra awareness training.

“Having Gatwick Airport within the force area accounts for 20 per cent of our annual BME searches.

“As there is no resident population searches recorded against the census data does inflate the Sussex figure.

“Successful high impact operations targeting organised crime groups bringing class A drugs into the county also impact with these groups using BME people to transport and supply drugs.”

Police also said they have seen a higher success rate of BME candidates making it through their last recruitment drive.

According to the figures, Sussex Police used their stop and search powers 6,244 times throughout 2016.