A CRIME Commissioner wants reassurance that police did not show 'unconscious bias' by issuing a disproportionate number of lockdown fines to young Asian men.

North Yorkshire’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan has published a report on the enforcement action by officers between April 2 - when North Yorkshire issued the first penalty for breaking lockdown rules - and May 11, when the regulations changed.

The report analyses the fines handed out and the profile of those who were stopped, with the focus on those given to BAME people (black, Asian and minority ethnic).

It is in the context of the North Yorkshire force issuing the most lockdown breach fines in the country.

Among the report's findings is that fines issued to residents of North Yorkshire are proportionate to the local demographic, but BAME visitors are disproportionately represented.

Young Asian men travelling in groups featured prominently among the fines being issued.

However, the study showed there was a clear rationale for enforcement action in every case sampled, with no evidence of any conscious targeting of BAME communities.

Ms Mulligan has however asked for further work within North Yorkshire Police to ensure there is no unconscious bias in the way officers are briefed, for example against those who do not fit the local profile at beauty spots frequented by visitors from the Bradford and Leeds areas.

Ms Mulligan said: “In our area, there is evidence of a clear bias in the data, showing young Asian males were far more likely to have been issued a FPN (fixed penalty notice) than our demographics would suggest.

"This is concerning, but we recognised the issue quickly and have undertaken a number of steps to understand the situation.

"These include raising our concerns at a national level, including with the Policing Minister, questioning the data, and undertaking a comprehensive and independent piece of local scrutiny work to understand the issue in detail.

“In doing this, we found no evidence of any bias or discrimination in the individual issuing of FPNs, indeed all appear to have been issued fairly and appropriately in and of themselves.

"However, I remain very concerned that the sheer scale of FPNs issued to young Asian males is unfair and likely to be biased.

"This requires further work to understand; not only how the bias manifests in other places, but the policies and processes which can lead to activity of this kind."

A National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) report published on Monday revealed young BAME men aged 18 to 34, were almost twice as likely to be fined for breaching lockdown rules than white men the same age.

NPCC chairman Martin Hewitt said: "While it is a complex picture, it is a concern to see disparity between white and black, Asian or ethnic minority people."