THE equivalent of nearly one in every five people in Greater Glasgow were stopped and searched by police last year, according to a new report.

The rate in Glasgow is almost 19 times higher than in Greater Manchester. Officers in Tayside carried out more searches as a proportion of the population than the Metropolitan Police did in London.

The frisk level across Scotland as a whole is also four times the per capita rate of England and Wales.

Stop and search was rolled out by the single force after being a flagship policy at the old Strathclyde force, which was led by current Police Scotland chief constable Stephen House.

It was revealed last year that 642,643 searches had been recorded in 2013/14, proportionately higher than anywhere else in the UK.

A majority of the searches were non-statutory - meaning they had no legal basis - and young children had been frisked on a so-called 'consensual' basis.

The figures provoked a major political row and the single force has been forced to overhaul the policy and radically scale back non-statutory searches.

A new report out on tomorrow, written by stop and search expert Kath Murray at Edinburgh University, compares frisk levels in the fourteen Scottish police divisions with the latest data for 43 forces in England and Wales.

The Scottish figures cover 2014/15 - a period during which the policy was supposed to have been reformed - and are based on the number of searches carried out per 1,000 people.

The national total shows a fall from 642,643 to 426,404, but the Scottish divisional statistics are huge when compared to other UK forces.

The top five - Greater Glasgow, Renfrewshire & Inverclyde, Ayrshire, Lanarkshire, Argyll & West Dunbartonshire - were all divisions in the abolished Strathclyde force.

Officers recorded 191 searches per 1,000 people in Greater Glasgow - nearly a fifth of the population - which was over five times the rate in London, 38 times higher than Essex and 19 times the level in Greater Manchester.

The number of recorded searches on 16 year olds in Greater Glasgow was greater than the number of 16 year olds in Greater Glasgow.

The frisk rate in Renfrewshire and Inverclyde - 189 for every 1,000 people - was also five times higher than in London and nearly 13 times greater than in West Yorkshire, which covers Leeds and Bradford.

In Edinburgh, sixth in the league table, the rate was around double that seen in Merseyside and over five times the level in West Midlands, which includes Birmingham.

The per capita rate was higher in Dumfries and Galloway than Greater Manchester and more searches were recorded in Tayside per 1,000 people than in London.

For each of the top five Scottish divisions, the search totals are the equivalent of more than 10% of the population being frisked.

However, the figures will include cases where the same individual is searched on multiple occasions.

Scottish divisions, unlike forces south of the border, also include alcohol searches and confiscations as part of their recorded total.

Murray's peer reviewed report will be published by the Scottish Centre for Crime & Justice Research (SCCJR).

She described her work as a "broad brush" look at stop and search, and welcomed the national fall in searches as "encouraging", but noted: "The report suggests that stop and search rates in Scotland may be attributed to a combination of strict performance management, weak regulation, and to a lack of scrutiny and accountability prior to reform.

"By the same token, the recent fall in recorded searches can be linked to increasing levels of political and media scrutiny in the post-reform period."

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Alison McInnes MSP said: "These figures demonstrate the need for an evidence-based, regulated approach to stop and search. With Scottish divisions accounting for seven out of ten areas across the UK with the highest per capita search rate, we must ask if we are getting the balance right between protecting public safety and civil liberties.

"In particular I have concerns that these high rates could be disproportionally impacting some communities and groups, such as young people, leading to a build-up of resentment towards the police. Young people have an equal right to live their lives without regularly having to submit to searches."

Professor Alan Miller, the chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission, said: "We are concerned about the scale of non-statutory stop and searches still taking place. We should all be free to go about our daily business unless the police have reasonable suspicion that we are doing something illegal.

"The Commission will continue to engage with Police Scotland, the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government to bring about the required legal framework. In the meantime, we repeat our view that non-statutory stop and search should cease immediately."

Chief Superintendent Barry McEwan, Head of Licensing and Violence Reduction Unit: "Police Scotland acknowledges this report and its findings. The use of stop and search is one of several legitimate policing tactics used to tackle the issues local communities tell us matter to them. Used in the right place at the right time, it can play a key role in keeping people safe.

"We take cognisance of recent reports and research from a range of organisation ... Police Scotland is taking this information - along with the figures provided in the SCCJR report - to assist with informing our ongoing improvement plan."