POLICE bosses say they want to make it clear to the public they support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst was joined by Tendring’s Chief Inspector Lily Benbow to discuss policing in north Essex during a Facebook Live meeting.

During the meeting, where the public were able send in questions, Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Jane Gardner asked Mr Hirst and Mrs Benbow how the police can ensure proportionality during stop and searches.

Mr Hirst said the scrutiny of stop and search is a hot topic at the moment particularly in light of the Black Lives Matters movement, which was brought to the world stage in the wake of American George Floyd’s death in May.

Mr Floyd died in police custody which sparked protests across the globe, including in Colchester.

Mr Hirst said: “I think we need to make clear black lives do matter and make sure the police service is even handed as everyone is equal under the law.

“On a quarterly basis I get a scrutiny report around use of force and use of stop and searches in the county - looking at how successful it is and the proportionality.

“Given the make up of Essex’s population and the general breakdown of crime you will be aware roughly 85 per cent of people in our prisons are male and that is about the same for stop and search.

“The largest number of people who we stop and search are young white males.

“Even within that context, while we have a relatively small black and Asian ethic community in Essex, we still do stop and search more of those proportionally. I need to make sure we continue to monitor that.”

He added: “We are stopping people for good reason, is probably the short answer.”

Mrs Benbow added that a lot of plain-clothed stop and search police work is carried out in Tendring.

“You have not seen the developments, but be rest assured we have a host of tactics we use, certainly in the Tendring area,” she said.

She said: “Since April we have had a one in four arrest rate for the stop and searches we have carried out.

“We have done in excess of 70.”