Arrests

Published

Last updated 10 February 2020 - see all updates

This page corrects mistakes in a previous version. See details.

1. Main facts and figures

  • there were 675,461 arrests in 2017/18, a fall of 9% on the previous year
  • Black people were over 3 times as likely to be arrested as White people – there were 35 arrests for every 1,000 Black people, and 10 arrests for every 1,000 White people
  • overall, men were 6 times as likely to be arrested as women – there were 22 arrests for every 1,000 men, and 4 arrests for every 1,000 women
  • Black women were more than twice as likely to be arrested as White women – there were 7 arrests for every 1,000 Black women, and 3 arrests for every 1,000 White women
  • figures for 2017/18 exclude Lancashire Police as they were unable to provide data on arrests
Things you need to know

When looking at arrest rates by area, it’s important to know that someone arrested in a particular area may not necessarily live in that area.

Population estimates for police force areas are based on permanent residents of that area (and do not include visitors), as reported in the 2011 Census. It is likely that the populations have changed since 2011 and these changes are not accounted for in the figures. Figures that compare the total population with the number of arrests should be treated with caution and be considered estimates only.

You can see the number of arrests by area and ethnicity if you download the data

Where someone's ethnicity wasn't identified or known, they have been classed as 'unknown'. The overall rate given in this data (presented under the ‘All’ in the charts and tables) includes people recorded as ‘Unknown’. Over the period studied, the percentage of people arrested whose ethnicity wasn't known ranged from 2% to 7%.

Due to changes in data collection:

  • Staffordshire police force were unable to provide complete data for 2006/07
  • Suffolk police force were unable to provide complete data for 2006/07 and 2007/08
  • Cambridgeshire police force were unable to provide detailed ethnicity data for 2015/16
  • Humberside police force were unable to provide complete data for 2014/15
  • police forces in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Nottinghamshire, Suffolk were unable to provide complete data for 2015/16
  • Lancashire police force were unable to provide any data on arrests in 2016/17 and 2017/18

Therefore, some data has been estimated for these forces, but no estimates were made for Lancashire Police in 2017/18.

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.

Additionally, three police forces revised data to correct errors in the way they had been counting arrests. The following forces made the following revisions to their total arrests:

  • Avon and Somerset, from 25,857 to 15,997 total arrests
  • Cambridgeshire, from 17,139 to 9,502
  • Merseyside, from 23,214 to 16,866

Data on this page contains the most up to date data for all years between 2006/07 and 2017/18. However due to these revisions, total arrests may not match with previous versions of this page.

What the data measures

This data measures the number of arrests for 'notifiable offences', which are offences for which the police must complete a crime report. Data is broken down by ethnicity, gender and area.

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.

Estimates of rates per 1,000 people in charts and tables are given to the nearest whole number. Comparisons between different ethnic groups have been calculated using unrounded data

Data comes from the 43 police forces in England and Wales.

Population data is taken from the 2011 Census.

The ethnic categories used in this data

The data is broken down into the following 5 broad groups:

  • Asian/Asian British
  • Black/African/Caribbean/Black British
  • Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups
  • White
  • Other ethnic group (including Chinese)

There’s a separate category for people whose ethnicity was unknown.

2. By ethnicity

Arrest rate per 1,000 people, and number of arrests, by ethnicity
Ethnicity Rate per 1,000 people Number of arrests
All 12 675,461
Asian 12 45,603
Black 35 64,670
Mixed 19 23,137
White 10 485,885
Other inc Chinese 11 10,810

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of Arrests By ethnicity Summary

This data shows that:

  • there were 675,461 arrests in England and Wales in 2017/18 (excluding the Lancashire police force area), at a rate of 12 arrests per 1,000 people
  • there were 66,946 fewer arrests in 2017/18 compared with the previous year, a fall of 9% (excluding Lancashire Police from both years)
  • Black people were over 3 times as likely to be arrested as White people – there were 35 arrests for every 1,000 Black people, and 10 arrests for every 1,000 White people
  • people with Mixed ethnicity were nearly twice as likely to be arrested as White people – there were 19 arrests for every 1,000 people with Mixed ethnicity, and 10 arrests for every 1,000 White people

3. By ethnicity over time

Arrest rate per 1,000 people, and number of arrests, by ethnicity over time
All Asian Black Mixed White Other inc Chinese
Time All Rate per 1,000 All Number of arrests Asian Rate per 1,000 Asian Number of arrests Black Rate per 1,000 Black Number of arrests Mixed Rate per 1,000 Mixed Number of arrests White Rate per 1,000 White Number of arrests Other inc Chinese Rate per 1,000 Other inc Chinese Number of arrests
2006/07 26 1,474,843 18 69,591 56 105,145 33 40,882 24 1,133,468 20 19,408
2007/08 26 1,475,266 20 74,755 59 109,206 33 40,726 24 1,170,527 22 21,103
2008/09 26 1,462,139 21 78,422 60 111,271 33 40,256 24 1,178,536 22 20,931
2009/10 25 1,385,322 20 78,124 60 110,977 33 40,133 23 1,103,206 21 20,249
2010/11 24 1,353,740 21 79,540 61 113,085 33 40,779 22 1,075,562 20 19,556
2011/12 22 1,225,123 19 72,361 55 102,326 31 37,516 20 972,938 18 17,289
2012/13 19 1,068,823 17 65,277 47 88,540 27 32,587 18 844,957 16 15,398
2013/14 18 1,021,356 17 64,304 46 86,245 25 31,126 17 799,754 15 14,712
2014/15 17 941,692 16 60,660 45 83,344 24 29,524 15 730,376 15 13,876
2015/16 16 879,570 15 59,096 44 81,895 23 28,542 13 648,979 15 14,249
2016/17 14 762,419 14 51,612 38 70,944 20 24,836 11 552,620 13 12,016

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV)

Summary of Arrests By ethnicity over time Summary

This data up to 2016/17 shows that:

  • overall, rates of arrest in England and Wales fell from 26 arrests per 1,000 people in 2006/07 to 14 arrests per 1,000 people in 2016/17
  • there were 117,151 fewer arrests in 2016/17 compared with the previous year, a fall of 13%
  • arrest rates for people from the Asian, White, and Other (including Chinese) ethnic groups were lower than average in almost every year of the period studied, while the rates for people from the Black and Mixed ethnic groups were consistently higher than average
  • between 2006/07 and 2016/17, the arrest rate for White people went down from 24 arrests per 1,000 to 11 arrests per 1,000 – a decrease of 51%
  • in the same period, the arrest rate for people with Mixed ethnicity went down from 33 arrests per 1,000 to 20 arrests per 1,000 – a decrease of 39%
  • the arrest rate for people from the Other ethnic group went down from 20 arrests per 1,000 people in 2006/07 to 13 per 1,000 in 2016/17 – a decrease of 38%
  • the arrest rate for Black people went down from 56 arrests per 1,000 people in 2006/07 to 38 per 1,000 in 2016/17 – a decrease of 33%
  • the arrest rate for Asian people went down from 18 arrests per 1,000 people in 2006/07 to 14 per 1,000 in 2016/17 – a decrease of 26%

4. By ethnicity and area

Arrest rate per 1,000 people, and number of arrests, by ethnicity and police force area
Geography All Asian Black Mixed White Other inc Chinese
Rate per 1,000 Rate per 1,000 Rate per 1,000 Rate per 1,000 Rate per 1,000 Rate per 1,000
All 12 12 35 19 10 11
Avon and Somerset 10 11 43 19 9 8
Bedfordshire 12 13 33 22 10 9
Cambridgeshire 12 14 53 21 11 10
Cheshire 11 12 74 10 11 12
Cleveland 19 18 50 20 19 18
Cumbria 15 27 104 19 14 29
Derbyshire 11 16 43 18 10 10
Devon and Cornwall 7 14 63 8 6 9
Dorset 10 11 108 15 9 9
Durham 14 17 41 10 14 19
Dyfed-Powys 8 11 51 10 8 6
Essex 9 9 29 22 7 12
Gloucestershire 8 11 67 23 7 28
Greater Manchester 10 10 24 16 9 8
Gwent 9 14 37 12 9 33
Hampshire 10 9 59 16 9 11
Hertfordshire 11 10 38 19 9 10
Humberside 12 14 58 14 12 5
Kent 15 14 60 18 13 29
Lancashire N/A* N/A* N/A* N/A* N/A* N/A*
Leicestershire 11 9 43 15 10 9
Lincolnshire 12 18 72 23 12 35
London, City of N/A* N/A* N/A* N/A* N/A* N/A*
Merseyside 12 13 38 14 12 11
Metropolitan Police 15 11 32 20 12 12
Norfolk 12 3 26 4 4 6
North Wales 18 12 89 10 17 21
North Yorkshire 12 9 30 15 11 13
Northamptonshire 12 14 42 20 10 21
Northumbria 14 11 35 6 14 1
Nottinghamshire 12 11 37 16 10 8
South Wales 16 13 50 20 16 10
South Yorkshire 10 9 21 7 7 6
Staffordshire 11 23 58 30 10 23
Suffolk 9 5 20 5 4 6
Surrey 8 10 51 13 7 9
Sussex 10 11 67 14 8 10
Thames Valley 14 16 43 31 11 11
Warwickshire 9 8 44 19 6 7
West Mercia 9 15 53 12 6 11
West Midlands 15 12 31 24 13 11
West Yorkshire 16 18 35 28 15 11
Wiltshire 10 11 55 21 10 16

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity and area’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity and area’ (CSV)

Summary of Arrests By ethnicity and area Summary

Lancashire Police were unable to provide arrests data in 2017/18. Population estimates for Lancashire have therefore been removed from the 'All' population figures when calculating arrest rates per 1,000 people.

This data shows that:

  • in 2017/18, the biggest difference in the arrest rates between Black people and White people was in Dorset (where Black people were almost 12 times as likely to be arrested as White people), followed by Cumbria (where Black people were 10 times as likely to be arrested as White people)
  • Black people had the highest arrest rates per 1,000 people in every police force area for which there was data
  • the arrest rate for Asian people was nearly 3 times higher than the rate for White people in West Mercia
  • the arrest rate for people with Mixed ethnicity was 3 times the rate for White people in Essex, Gloucestershire and Staffordshire
  • in London (the Metropolitan Police force area), 53% of people arrested were from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined (the highest percentage out of all police force areas) – by comparison, 40% of the population of London was from these combined ethnic groups at the time of the 2011 Census
  • in London, there were 19 arrests for every 1,000 ethnic minority people compared with 12 arrests for every 1,000 White people
  • Cleveland had the highest overall rate of arrests, at 19 arrests for every 1,000 people
  • the police forces with the lowest overall rates of arrests were Devon and Cornwall (7 arrests for every 1,000 people), followed by Gloucestershire, Surrey, and Dyfed-Powys (each with 8 arrests per 1,000 people)
  • 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 the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups living in London than in North Wales, for example)

5. By ethnicity and gender

Arrest rate per 1,000 people, and number of arrests, by ethnicity and gender
All Female Male
Ethnicity All Rate per 1,000 All Number of arrests Female Rate per 1,000 Female Number of arrests Male Rate per 1,000 Male Number of arrests
All 12 675,461 3 98,902 21 576,559
Asian 12 45,603 2 3,265 22 42,338
Black 35 64,670 7 6,785 64 57,885
Mixed 19 23,137 6 3,425 32 19,712
White 10 485,885 3 77,077 17 408,808
Other inc Chinese 11 10,810 3 1,468 19 9,342

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity and gender’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity and gender’ (CSV)

Summary of Arrests By ethnicity and gender Summary

This data shows that:

  • overall in 2017/18, there were 3 arrests for every 1,000 women and 21 arrests for every 1,000 men
  • Black men were over three times as likely to be arrested than White men – there were 66 arrests for every 1,000 Black men, and 18 arrests for every 1,000 White men
  • Black women were over twice as likely to be arrested as White women – there were 7 arrests for every 1,000 Black women, and 3 arrests for every 1,000 White women
  • Asian men were 11 times as likely to be arrested as Asian women, the biggest difference between men and women from the same ethnic group – there were 22 arrests for every 1,000 Asian men, and 2 arrests for every 1,000 Asian women

6. 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.

Rounding

Rates of arrest per 1,000 people are rounded to the nearest whole number.

Further technical information

Police forces' recording of arrests, and use of the data, are monitored by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).

HMICFRS 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.

7. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Home Office

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

Figures on stop and search reported to the Home Office are used to create greater transparency in the use of stop and search in England and Wales. They enhance accountability by enabling the public to monitor police forces at a national and local level.

The data is used to form a national picture of the trends in stop and search. It informs discussions about crime, policing and criminal justice in government and academia, and ensures the public are accurately informed.

8. Download the data

Number of arrests - Spreadsheet (csv) 51 MB

This file contains the following: Time, Ethnicity, Gender, Age, Police force area, Number of arrests, Population, Rate per 1,000 population, Proportions of arrests