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Government’s own figures show Stop and Search is ineffective

London Mayor Sadiq Khan this week announced an increase in the use of the Met Police’s policy of Stop and Search, commenting that more intelligence-led stop and search was a “vital tool” to keep communities safe.

Kerry Spence, a criminal defence lawyer at London law firm Hodge Jones & Allen, comments that the figures from the Home Office, however, prove that the procedure does not work.

“The stats for the year 2016-17 show that the percentage of arrests arising from the number of Stop and Search is shockingly low,” she said.

“Out of more than 300,000 stop and searches, just 17 per cent resulted in arrest. And from that number, those BAME targeted remains disproportionately high.”

A Government report commenting on the findings says that individuals from BME groups are nearly four times as likely to be stopped and searched compared with those who are White.

In particular, those who are Black (or Black British) are more than eight times more likely to be stopped than those who are White. In both cases, these figures are higher than the previous year, and reflect the fact that although stop and searches of all ethnicities have fallen, stops of White individuals have fallen by more than stops of BME individuals.

Michael Ackah, also from Hodge Jones & Allen and a trustee of the charity Stop & Search Legal Project, added:

“It is clear the police target BAME individuals in particular without necessarily having reasonable cause to do so in terms of subsequent arrests.

“While the Mayor’s comments make a good soundbite, the ongoing statistics question the effectiveness of the procedure”, Mr Ackah said.

The figures below were updated in October 2017

 SS.13:   Stop and search1 per 1,000 population, by ethnicity2, England and Wales, 2010/11 to 2016/17
Rates per 1,000 populationEngland and Wales
Self-defined ethnicity
WhiteBlack (or Black British)Asian (or Asian British)Chinese or OtherMixedAll BME groups
2010/1117 112 36 19 3051
2011/1216 95 32 16 2945
2012/1315 65 24 13 2332
2013/1413 55 19 12 2027
2014/158 34 11 8 1316
2015/165 31 9 6 1014
2016/174 29 8 6 913
Source: Stop and Search collection, Home Office 


SS.15:   Persons stopped and searched, and subsequent arrests, all stops and searches1, England and Wales2
Numbers and percentagesEngland and Wales
YearTotal searchesTotal ArrestsArrest rate (%)
2001/02759,900 99,38813
2002/03939,648 116,79912
2003/04789,880 96,64712
2004/05903,105 97,01411
2005/06924,951 99,31411
2006/071,007,604 112,76111
2007/081,106,502 122,42511
2008/091,309,548 117,5249
2009/101,297,300 110,5999
2010/111,291,753 115,6509
2011/121,189,882 108,8759
2012/131,017,542 105,82610
2013/14904,038 108,35112
2014/15541,144 74,80014
2015/16383,595 60,28816
2016/17303,845 51,81317
Source: Stop and Search collection, Home Office
1.  Does not include searches under section 44/47A of the Terrorism Act 2000. This legislation was amended by the Home Secretary in 2011 and had not been used up to the year ending March 2017.
2.  Data from 2009/10 onwards includes the British Transport Police (BTP). BTP did not provide data to the Home Office prior to 2009/10, therefore data from before this period are not directly comparable with more recent years.



For further information, please contact Nicola Pearson at Black Letter Communications on 020 3567 1208 or at

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