National policing lead for drugs Chief Constable Andy Bliss said:

"This report raises issues for the police service and wider criminal justice system. Unfairness, whether real or perceived, at any stage of the criminal justice system needs to be identified and responded to.

"Stop and search that is intelligence led, proportionate and carried out with professionalism and respect is an important power in cutting crime and protecting the public. Progress has been made by police forces in ensuring that stop and search is used in this way.

"However, we are clear that there is more to do so that this power is used fairly and effectively across the country. Chief Constables and Police and Crime Commissioners will be considering their local response to the recent HMIC review of stop and search and ACPO will be working with the College of Policing to implement the HMIC's recommendations. We also await the outcome of the current Home Office consultation on this issue.

"Many factors are taken into account when making charging decisions and we need to look at these carefully to see whether there are disparities. In more serious cases where people are charged with drug possession and referred to court, the CPS acts as a check and balance ensuring that only cases that have a sufficient evidence and are in the public interest go to court.

"Possession of controlled drugs is unlawful and the police have a clear responsibility to enforce the law and protect communities from the harms associated with the criminal trade in drugs and drug misuse."

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