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NEWS

Removing restrictions on stop and search powers will perpetuate discrimination in criminal justice

FT Admin - July 27, 2021 - Discrimination, Extended police powers

Removing restrictions on stop and search powers will perpetuate discrimination in criminal justice

Criminal justice NGO Fair Trials has responded to Government proposals to remove restrictions to stop and search powers in England and Wales. The proposals were announced as part of the Government’s Beating Crime Plan launched today.

Legal and Policy Officer Griff Ferris said:

“Stop and search powers are already used in a discriminatory way, repeatedly leading to the racist profiling of Black and other minoritised ethnic groups in England and Wales, despite the majority of stops resulting in no further action.

“Making it easier for the police to stop and search individuals without reasonable suspicion will only exacerbate the already appalling levels of discrimination shown in existing section 60 suspicionless stop and searches.

“The Government’s priority should be to address the discriminatory use of existing stop and search powers, not further expand them.”

Discriminatory impact of Stop and Search

It is well-evidenced that police stop and search is discriminatory in practice, targeting Black people and other ethnic minorities at rates 9 times that of white people.[1]

 In London, young Black men are 19 times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people.[2]

Effectiveness of Stop and Search

There are also questions about whether Stop and Search is also proven to be ineffective in tackling crime. In 2019, only 15% of those stopped and searched in England and Wales were arrested.

Nationally, a total of 577,054 stops were carried out across England in 2019-20, the highest levels for 6 years. However, 76% of these stops and searches led to no further action.[3]

For further information, contact [email protected]

 

 

[1] 4 Home Office, ‘Police powers and procedures, England and Wales, year ending 31 March 2020 second edition (27 October 2020)

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please call the media team on +44 (0) 7749 785 932 or email [email protected]

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