Cumbria police intimately searched four suspects who were found to be carrying no illegal goods over the last 11 years, new figures reveal.

Intimate searches are made of someone’s bodily orifices when police suspect they are hiding drugs or offensive weapons upon their person.

Temporary Chief Superintendent Rob O’Connor, of Cumbria Police said these types of searches are only used when ‘necessary and reasonable’.

Drug reform charity Release said the low success rate of such searches nationally raises serious questions about the disproportionate use of such a “humiliating and degrading” use of power.

Analysis of Home Office data shows Cumbria police made four intimate searches between 2009-10, the earliest year figures are available, and 2019-20. Most of these, three, were to look for drugs, but Class A substances were never found.

In the one remaining search, no harmful articles were found.

Temp Ch Supt O’Connor said: “The low numbers of intimate searches demonstrate how seriously we take it.”