Policing / Stop and search

New figures show racism in stop and search persists

Posted on 27 Oct 2020

Liberty has responded to news that racial disproportionality in police use of stop and search persists.

Stats released by the Home Office today for police use of stop and search during the year ending March 2020 showed overall use of stop and search has risen – with racial disproportionality shown to be enduringly high.

Records have consistently revealed that people of colour are disproportionately targeted by the police power.

Official Home Office statistics published today show:

  • Overall use of stop and search rose sharply, with a 53 per cent increase compared with the previous year
  • Racial disproportionality is at an enduringly high level:
  • Black people are 8.9 times more likely to be stopped than white people – compared to 9.5 times during the previous year
  • Overall people of colour are 4.3 times more likely to be stopped than white people – compared to 4.1 times during the previous year, and 2.3 times in 2012/2013

Last year the Government relaxed the safeguards around the use of Section 60 (suspicionless) stop and search. This has resulted in police use of use of section 60 rising 35 per cent in England and Wales (excluding Greater Manchester Police). This is the third consecutive year use of this power has risen.

Rosalind Comyn, Liberty policy and campaigns manager, said:

“We should all be able to feel safe and be treated fairly – but the persistent racial disproportionality in stop and search is putting Black people at great risk of harm.

“Serious violence is a human rights issue which demands meaningful work with – not against – the communities most affected by it. The Government should prioritise strategies for community safety that address the root causes of violence and reduce the need for police interventions, rather than increasing State harassment of people.

“The Government admits there is no proof that ramping up stop and search makes our communities safer. Yet despite this, and in the face of wide racial disparities, use of stop and search is still rising, and the Government is currently pushing forward plans to expand it further. This comes in spite of repeat warnings about the damage this power does to people and communities.”

I'm looking for advice on this

Did you know Liberty offers free human rights legal advice?

What are my rights on this?

Find out more about your rights and how the Human Rights Act protects them

Did you find this content useful?

Help us make our content even better by letting us know whether you found this page useful or not

Need advice or information?