Number of arrests

The main facts and figures show that:

  • a total of 896,209 arrests were made in 2015/2016, a fall of 5% on the previous year

  • Black people were over 3 times more likely to be arrested than White people

  • Black women were more than twice as likely to be arrested as White women

Things you need to know

Someone arrested in a particular area will not necessarily live in that area. Population estimates are based on permanent residents of that area (not visitors) – so figures that compare the total population with the number of arrests should be treated with caution.

Where someone's ethnicity wasn't identified or known, they have been classed as 'unreported' and are not counted in the arrest rates by ethnicity.

Over the period studied the percentage of people arrested whose ethnicity wasn't known ranges from 2% to 7%.

Due to changes in data collection:

  • Cambridgeshire police force were unable to provide detailed ethnicity data for 2015/16
  • Humberside police force were unable to provide detailed ethnicity data for 2014/15
  • police forces in Norfolk, Nottinghamshire, Suffolk and Wiltshire were unable to provide complete data for 2015/16

Therefore, arrests broken down by the 5 broad ethnic categories for these forces are estimates, and data for the specific ethnic categories is not available.

Due to the small number of people living in the City of London compared with the numbers who visit, its police force has been excluded from the analysis.

What the data measures

This data measures the number of arrests for 'notifiable offences', broken down by ethnicity, gender and area.

A notifiable offence is one for which the police must complete a crime report.

The arrest rate is calculated as the number of people arrested from a particular ethnic group out of every 1,000 people from the same group.

Data is derived from the 43 police forces in England and Wales.

Population data is taken from the 2011 Census.

The ethnic categories used in this data

While the population estimates in this data are based on the results of the 2011 Census, the ethnic categories used are those listed in the 2001 Census. This is because these ethnic categories are easier to compare with the categories used when recording arrests.

The 16 categories listed in the 2001 Census are broadly the same as those used in the 2011 Census, with the following exceptions:

  • the 2001 Census categorised Chinese people within 'Other ethnic group'
  • the 2001 Census did not list Gypsy and Irish Travellers or Arab people

The categories are therefore as follows:

White:

  • English/ Welsh/ Scottish/ Northern Irish/ British
  • Irish
  • Any other White background

Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups:

  • White and Black Caribbean
  • White and Black African
  • White and Asian
  • Any other Mixed/Multiple ethnic background

Asian/Asian British:

  • Indian
  • Pakistani
  • Bangladeshi
  • Any other Asian background

Black/ African/ Caribbean/ Black British:

  • African
  • Caribbean
  • Any other Black/ African/ Caribbean background

Other ethnic group:

  • Chinese
  • Any other ethnic group

Ethnic groups and how data on ethnicity is collected

Number of arrests by ethnicity

Arrests per 1,000 population by ethnicity

2014/15 2015/16
Ethnicity Rate Arrests Rate Arrests
All 16.88 946,759 15.98 896,209
Asian 15.89 60,709 15.62 59,665
Black 44.75 83,461 44.39 82,789
Mixed 24.17 29,599 23.80 29,146
White 15.25 735,128 13.75 663,059
Other 14.55 13,926 15.09 14,443
Unknown N/A* 23,936 N/A* 47,107

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Summary

This data shows that:

  • there were 50,550 fewer arrests in 2015/16 compared to the previous year, a fall of 5%

  • rates of arrest fell for all groups except for those in the Other ethnic group

  • rates of arrest for White people fell from 15.25 per 1,000 in 2014/15 to 13.75 per 1,000 in 2015/16

  • in 2015/16, of people arrested for whom ethnicity was known, 78% were White, 10% were Black, and 7% were Asian

Number of arrests by ethnicity and area

Number of arrests, and arrest rate per 1,000 population, by ethnicity and police force area

All Asian Black Mixed White Other
[None] Rate Arrests Rate Arrests Rate Arrests Rate Arrests Rate Arrests Rate Arrests
All 15.98 896,209 15.62 59,665 44.39 82,789 23.80 29,146 13.75 663,059 15.09 14,443
Avon & Somerset 15.58 24,918 16.57 547 56.17 1,737 30.59 865 14.25 21,261 9.88 152
Bedfordshire 15.91 9,783 17.66 1,439 36.13 1,074 26.77 494 13.77 6,565 14.97 131
Cambridgeshire 13.49 10,854 20.39 806 83.74 852 not collected not collected 11.87 8,622 38.58 485
Cheshire 13.64 14,021 15.09 193 69.24 226 11.99 125 13.31 13,258 15.87 83
Cleveland 25.69 14,316 22.04 384 70.03 221 15.62 90 25.61 13,484 28.42 126
Cumbria 13.82 6,907 20.25 59 79.45 46 11.18 28 13.62 6,704 16.82 27
Derbyshire 15.05 15,323 17.68 652 28.74 290 13.10 188 14.67 13,936 32.69 238
Devon & Cornwall 9.27 15,459 14.79 173 75.74 311 13.61 213 8.95 14,559 11.30 107
Dorset 14.87 11,067 15.80 169 127.81 410 19.04 181 13.55 9,685 18.85 113
Durham 18.17 11,245 32.66 167 46.31 49 19.10 81 17.87 10,818 26.40 80
Dyfed-Powys 10.80 5,561 10.76 46 70.09 60 9.20 30 10.64 5,370 7.47 15
Essex 14.11 24,342 7.60 296 18.66 647 8.47 234 4.92 7,912 5.98 92
Gloucestershire 8.94 5,339 12.74 134 56.89 293 15.47 134 7.95 4,527 29.29 88
Greater Manchester 14.57 39,075 13.97 3,437 31.11 2,305 21.48 1,304 13.46 30,260 10.67 571
Gwent 14.24 8,214 19.95 201 45.53 145 22.53 125 13.61 7,547 21.01 75
Hampshire 12.24 23,227 9.56 548 63.51 1,108 17.89 553 11.18 19,796 9.23 193
Hertfordshire 17.58 19,622 15.46 991 49.49 1,554 31.20 858 15.16 14,821 14.53 226
Humberside 11.44 10,502 10.91 133 31.56 142 14.17 116 11.34 10,041 4.80 36
Kent 13.14 22,695 12.83 695 63.38 1,450 17.63 481 11.18 17,975 41.00 641
Lancashire 15.54 22,699 11.48 1,249 42.03 226 18.40 300 15.43 20,374 4.23 44
Leicestershire 9.68 9,853 7.61 1,185 34.89 859 14.72 302 9.09 7,254 4.45 85
Lincolnshire 12.85 9,173 17.03 95 48.03 123 12.12 75 11.99 8,350 27.83 79
London, City of N/A* 1,775 N/A* 224 N/A* 327 N/A* 94 N/A* 931 N/A* 41
Merseyside 20.52 28,339 17.56 331 52.84 769 24.00 503 19.89 25,966 15.61 336
Metropolitan Police 23.29 190,195 18.13 25,141 45.89 49,948 28.58 11,575 18.54 90,494 17.64 7,143
Norfolk 16.64 14,272 11.93 117 72.90 336 18.65 187 11.37 9,415 10.51 57
North Wales 21.87 15,045 11.68 74 91.52 137 9.09 45 21.79 14,616 14.16 63
North Yorkshire 14.66 11,677 11.30 112 26.81 97 11.13 83 12.55 9,652 8.66 54
Northamptonshire 14.46 10,004 12.84 290 46.50 787 21.86 310 13.43 8,496 10.10 55
Northumbria 19.20 27,276 17.95 678 46.52 419 14.38 179 19.13 25,700 4.36 78
Nottinghamshire 21.92 23,927 23.50 1,134 59.70 1,629 37.41 1,159 20.08 19,471 16.29 252
South Wales 20.80 26,701 14.94 535 55.35 705 23.81 423 19.67 23,575 11.17 211
South Yorkshire 12.19 16,372 14.36 785 32.62 840 11.50 239 11.65 14,187 9.54 236
Staffordshire 13.75 15,090 24.27 853 50.99 436 27.95 394 12.77 13,187 18.44 136
Suffolk 13.52 9,845 10.21 112 53.40 366 19.32 241 9.29 6,441 10.92 51
Surrey 9.92 11,233 11.79 637 53.10 660 14.94 352 8.90 9,111 8.08 151
Sussex 12.93 20,785 12.21 499 82.34 1,173 19.94 599 11.05 16,641 14.80 242
Thames Valley 16.66 37,809 18.28 3,519 45.50 3,140 34.47 1,930 13.88 26,642 12.06 393
Warwickshire 9.80 5,345 10.51 239 52.44 233 20.63 164 9.06 4,583 14.42 67
West Mercia 10.58 12,935 21.97 477 81.39 412 19.46 262 9.91 11,664 12.37 70
West Midlands 13.58 37,170 10.32 5,094 26.40 4,332 22.27 2,142 12.54 24,075 11.37 722
West Yorkshire 17.62 39,223 17.90 5,026 33.20 1,543 26.56 1,278 15.99 29,103 11.63 359
Wiltshire 10.29 6,996 10.88 189 61.09 372 21.44 210 9.32 5,990 9.74 39

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Summary

This data shows that:

  • in North Wales, 2% of people arrested were from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined (the lowest rate)

  • in London, 51% of people arrested were from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined (the highest rate)

  • differences in the rate of arrests in England and Wales are likely, in part, to reflect population differences in those areas (with many more people from an ethnic minority living in London than in North Wales, for example)

Number of arrests by ethnicity and gender

Number of arrests, and arrest rate per 1,000 population, by ethnicity and gender

All Female Male
Ethnicity Rate Arrests Rate Arrests Rate Arrests
All 15.98 896,209 4.91 139,915 27.43 756,294
Asian 15.62 59,665 2.55 4,810 28.36 54,855
Black 44.39 82,789 10.37 10,028 81.01 72,761
Mixed 23.80 29,146 7.66 4,695 39.98 24,451
White 13.75 663,059 4.51 110,841 23.37 552,218
Other 15.09 14,443 4.30 1,970 25.02 12,473
Unknown N/A* 47,107 N/A* 7,571 N/A* 39,536

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Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2015/16, 15% of all women arrested in England and Wales were from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined, compared with 23% of all men arrested

  • of the total number of people from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups arrested in 2015/16, 12% were women

  • of the total number of White people arrested in 2015/16, 17% were women

  • Black men were almost three and a half times more likely to be arrested than White men, and Black women were over twice as likely to be arrested as White women

Methodology

Methodology

A person arrested for a notifiable offence is counted for each occasion on which they are arrested, provided that the offence is not connected or related to an offence for which the person has already been subject to arrest during the year.

If it is connected, or if a person has been arrested for more than one notifiable offences on the same occasion, the offence with the highest maximum penalty is recorded.

Arresting officers are required to record details of an arrest at the time of arrest, or as soon as possible after. A universal code of practice (PACE code G) ensures arrests are standardised across forces, both in terms of the processes involved, and the data recorded.

The person arrested states their ethnicity at the time of arrest.

Police forces have their own internal auditing methods to ensure that data is accurate and up to date before it's submitted to the Home Office.

Further technical information

Police forces' recording of arrests, and use of the data, are monitored by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC). HMIC carries out regular inspections and produce reports on the inspections.

Home Office statisticians undertake quality assurance checks which include looking for missing and incomplete data, inconsistencies in the data, and extreme values.

Trend analyses also look for unusual or unexpected trends in the data. Any inconsistencies or unusual trends are flagged with forces, who are requested to either explain the trends, or resubmit to amend the data.

All data is then confirmed by forces during a data reconciliation before the figures are published.

Data sources

Source

Police powers and procedures England and Wales statistics

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Home Office

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

It is mandatory for police forces in England and Wales to provide the Home Office with the number of arrests carried out each financial year by ethnicity.

Arrest records form part of custody records, which in turn are used for a number of administrative purposes, including monitoring performance.

Download the data

number-of-arrests.csv

This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, police force area, arrests, population and rate

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