Stop and Search
How many times were people stopped and searched by the police in England and Wales in a typical year?
According to Home Office figures, the police recorded 1,142,763 Stops and Searches using section 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act and other legislation (more commonly known as ‘Stops and Searches’) in 2008/09.
This was a 10% rise on the previous year (which had 1,036,363 ‘Stops and Searches’).
Tell me more about Stops and Searches.
Police officers have the power to stop and search individuals under a range of legislation, including section 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE), as well as section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, and section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000. Section 1 (PACE) is the most commonly used of the Stop and Search powers. In 2008/09, there were just over 1.1 million section 1 Stops and Searches compared with over 100,000 section 60 Stops and Searches and just under 200,000 section 44 Stop and Searches..
How do Stops and Searches break down by race?
Of the Stop and Searches carried out, 15% were of Black people, 9% of Asian people, 3% of people of Mixed ethnicity, and 1% of people from a Chinese or Other background.
Is this a proportionally fair breakdown?
In 2008/09, there were over seven times more Stop and Searches of Black people per head of population than of White people, and over twice as many Stop and Searches per head of population of Asian people and people of Mixed ethnicity.
Does this vary by police force or by different geographical areas?
While the Metropolitan Police Service accounts for 14% of the England and Wales population, 42% of Stop and Searches are carried out by the Metropolitan Police Service.
In the rest of England and Wales, there was large variation in the number of Stops and Searches. In some Police Force Areas, the number of Stops and Searches per 1,000 population was higher for people from a White background than those from a Black background.
Are the number of Stop and Searches going up?
The number of Stop and Searches increased across all ethnic groups in each year between 2004/05 and 2008/09. The number of White people being Stopped and Searched increased by just under 30% between 2004/05 and 2008/09, while the number of Black and Asian people being Stopped and Searched increased by over 70%.
Do Stops and Searches help to prevent crime?
That depends on your point of view. However, Home Office statistics published in June 2010 confirm that, in 2008/09, less than 10% of Stop and Searches resulted in an Arrest across England and Wales as a whole. Stops of Asian suspects were least likely to result in an Arrest (7.7%) in comparison with other ethnic groups.