Yes, there is a higher proportion of Black and Asian people stopped by the Police compared to White people, but is this disproportionality justifiable? Just consider the facts.

Firstly, more people are stopped in urban areas than rural and urban areas have far higher rates of diversity in their communities, which slants the ratio.

Areas where there is a high level of social deprivation, with high unemployment or where asylum seekers congregate do, unfortunately, have far higher rates of crime than other areas. Often these areas have a far higher proportion of Black and Asian people too.

Also, Officers are more likely to fill out forms for someone from a BME background than a White background so that they can prove they are not being racist. This further distorts the disproportionality. The statistics also show that some types of crime are more likely to be carried out by Black and Asian people, which increases the number stopped if that type of crime has taken place.

Taking all this into account, you can see that the higher number of Black and Asian people stopped is not racism, simply the Police trying to solve crime.

There are many checks in place to ensure that the system remains fair.

In Lancashire the Police Authority receives a detailed report on stop and search figures, which is also checked by an independent advisory group.

Nationally there is an enormous amount of work being done to ensure equality, but there are also things that you can do to help yourself.

Firstly it is important to know your rights. Remember, the police are not allowed to stop people because of the way they look, race, religion or age, unless they fit the description of someone who's suspected of committing a crime. If you are stopped and searched by an Officer you must be given a form telling you why you were stopped, with the Officer’s details.

If you are simply stopped and asked what you have been doing then the officer must give you a receipt.

It may be irritating if it happens to you but Stop and Search keeps people safer and helps solve crime. There are, however, different rules for Stop and Search at port and airports, if acts of terrorism are suspected or during specific operations such as crowd control.

Saima Afzal, a member of Lancashire Police Authority and lead member on Diversity, is also the Executive Member for Equality and Diversity at the Association of Police Authorities (APA), with special responsibility for championing equality and diversity issues nationally.