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Children being stopped and searched by police
Nearly 30,000 under 18-year-olds were stopped and searched by the police.
Sussex Police is the force with the fifth highest amount of young people stopped and searched in the country according to a report by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Children. In total 28,198 youths were stopped and searched - which is 25.6% of the 110,156 total for all age groups – between 2009 and 2013.
The percentage figure is the third highest of the 12 forces that provided data.
A Sussex Police spokesman said: “Stop and Search is a valuable public protection tool helping to keep those who live and work in Sussex safe from criminal activity.
“We have a responsibility to ensure we use Stop and Search powers effectively and fairly and being held accountable over what we do is fundamental to the trust and confidence people place in us.
“Police officers have the power to stop and search individuals under a range of legislation, including Section 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) which allows an officer who has reasonable grounds for suspicion to stop and search a person or vehicle to look for stolen or prohibited items.”
Additional data put the figure of children under-10 stopped by the force to be 454 – almost half of the total figure nationwide.
A spokesman however said this figure was reported in error and dismissed it as “completely inaccurate”.
He said: “The section of the data which appears to show that 454 of the under-18 searches were of under-10s, appears to be completely inaccurate, as a result of systematic data entry issues, and we will be looking into this to try to establish the true picture.
“However at this time we do not know the accurate figure and this will take careful research.
“Clearly we try to avoid, as much as we possibly can, the stopping and searching of children of such tender years and the inaccurate data should not have been provided.”
More information about stop and search is available by typing the phrase into the force website at www.sussex.police.uk.