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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 population England and Wales
Self-defined ethnicity
White Black (or Black British) Asian (or Asian British) Chinese or Other Mixed All BME groups
2010/11 17  112  36  19  30 51
2011/12 16  95  32  16  29 45
2012/13 15  65  24  13  23 32
2013/14 13  55  19  12  20 27
2014/15 8  34  11  8  13 16
2015/16 5  31  9  6  10 14
2016/17 4  29  8  6  9 13
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 percentages England and Wales
Year Total searches Total Arrests Arrest rate (%)
2001/02 759,900  99,388 13
2002/03 939,648  116,799 12
2003/04 789,880  96,647 12
2004/05 903,105  97,014 11
2005/06 924,951  99,314 11
2006/07 1,007,604  112,761 11
2007/08 1,106,502  122,425 11
2008/09 1,309,548  117,524 9
2009/10 1,297,300  110,599 9
2010/11 1,291,753  115,650 9
2011/12 1,189,882  108,875 9
2012/13 1,017,542  105,826 10
2013/14 904,038  108,351 12
2014/15 541,144  74,800 14
2015/16 383,595  60,288 16
2016/17 303,845  51,813 17
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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