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Thames Valley Police increase stop and searches

Police officers stopped and searched 17 people in Windsor during  a six-hour operation last week, and issued a number of cautions and fines.

The police activity, which took place in the town centre and Dedworth, on Friday April 26, went ahead under strict guidelines for the use of stop and search powers, according to Sergeant Ryan Powell, of Thames Valley Police.

The operation is part of a move to step up stop and search across the Royal Borough.

Windsor and Maidenhead Local Police Area has increased its use of the tactic by 32 per cent over the last year across Windsor, Maidenhead, Ascot, Datchet, Sunninghill and Sunningdale.

An officer has the right to stop and search any individual if they have reasonable grounds to suspect they may be carrying illegal drugs, weapons, stolen property or something which could be used to commit a crime.

In March, Home Secretary Sajid Javid granted police officers in England and Wales greater stop and search powers to help tackle the rise of knife crime, as the number of fatal stabbings hit a record.

Stop and search powers have been controversial with campaigners stating they are frequently misused. Figures released by the Home Office found that black people were nine and a half times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people in 2017/2018.

Sergeant Powell reassured the public that strict guidelines are followed.

He said: “Every stop and search is scrutinised by a supervising officer to ensure it is legal and unbiased.”

Random checks are carried out every quarter by a community group who review a cross section of searches to determine that no conscious bias is being enforced.

“Stop and search powers are under a lot of scrutiny on a national level, but it is a good tool to be used,” he added.

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