A top cop in Lewisham has defended the use of stop and search after statistics revealed black people were targeted almost three times more often than white people.

Superintendent Andy Carter said knife crime “disproportionately” affects young men and boys of African and Caribbean heritage as data suggested one in 10 young black people are being stopped and searched.

Statistics from the Met’s dashboard show that 1,700 black people aged between 15 and 19 have been stopped by cops in Lewisham over the last year out of a population of 16,127.

As the use of the controversial tactic has risen over the last two years, data shows 2.8 black people per 1000 of the population on average have been stopped each month by officers – compared to just 0.9 per 1000 for white and Asian populations.

More than 60 per cent of stop and search incidents over the last two years have targeted black people - nearly double the figure for white people.

Janet Daby, MP for Lewisham East, said increasing stop and search will not solve the problem of violence and slammed the tactic for intimidating certain communities.

She said in a statement: “High levels of stop and search alone will not solve our very real problem with serious violence.

“In fact it can often leave communities feeling victimised and intimidated. This can hamper effective community policing.

“A public health approach has proven effective in reducing serious violence elsewhere.

“Myself and Labour colleagues will continue to call on the government to bring forward and properly resource efforts nationally.”

The MP also praised the council for its multi-agency approach to addressing violent crime in the borough.

In a statement, Supt Carter said stop and search remains an “important power” in Lewisham and is used in response to where there is a threat of violence.

An increase in street violence and drug crime in the borough has resulted in more stop and searches in recent months, Supt Carter added.

He told News Shopper: “We acknowledge that historically stop and search has caused concern in Lewisham and therefore we ensure it is subject to proper scrutiny through an independent stop and search monitoring group.

“Tragically, knife crime and street violence disproportionately affects boys and young men, particularly of African-Caribbean heritage both in terms of victims and perpetrators.

“As with all types of crime we must focus our efforts lawfully, ethically and proportionately in the areas requiring our support and intervention to stop more young people being injured, dying or damaging their lives by committing serious offences.

“Working with Lewisham`s communities like the rest of London is essential to the success of policing the capital.”

He added body-worn cameras are being used by officers to increase public trust in the force.