AN INVESTIGATION has been launched over comments made by a councillor during a debate on Dorset Police's use of stop and search.

Lytchett Matravers and Upton councillor Bill Pipe has said he is "deeply sorry and ashamed for the offence caused" by his remarks in a meeting of the county's Police & Crime Panel.

The comments came as officials discussed figures which showed black people are 25 times more likely to be stopped and searched by the county’s police force.

As reported, Cllr Pipe claimed he was not racist, but attempted to justify why police officers might want to target individuals people in stop and search operations.

BCP Council member Bobbie Dove interrupted him and said he had no evidence to support this claim and she wanted nothing to do with the remarks. Others on the video call also disassociated themselves from the comments.

Cllr Pipe has since issued a statement to apologise. This came after Dorset Council's acting chief executive said the local authority's monitoring officer and an independent person would decide the "most appropriate course of action".

"I wish to apologise unreservedly for the comments I made at the meeting of the Police & Crime Panel," said Cllr Pipe.

"I cannot excuse what I said and accept that it was ill-informed.

"I am deeply sorry and ashamed for the offence caused and the inappropriate way in which I tabled my comments, none of which was meant to offend.

"I await the conclusions of the monitoring officer and the independent person following their investigation."

John Sellgren, acting chief executive of Dorset Council, said the local authority was aware of Cllr Pipe's comments during the meeting.

"We do not tolerate disrespectful behaviour and take racism very seriously," said Mr Sellgren.

"The comments made by Cllr Pipe do not represent the views of Dorset Council or the Police and Crime Panel.

"The monitoring officer, together with an independent person, will decide the most appropriate course of action in line with our councillor code of conduct.

"Dorset Council condemns all forms of racism. We recognise the injustices faced by Black, Asian and minority ethnic people in our communities and we’re committed to promoting equality and tackling discrimination."

A council's monitoring officer is responsible for helping to maintain high standards of conduct amongst councillors and take action on any allegations of breaches of conduct.