Arrests

The main facts and figures show that:

  • a total of 779,660 arrests were made in 2016/17, a fall of 12% on the previous year
  • Black people were over 3 times more likely to be arrested than White people – there were 38 arrests for every 1,000 Black people, and 12 arrests for every 1,000 White people
  • Black women were more than twice as likely to be arrested as White women – there were 8 arrests for every 1,000 Black women, and 4 arrests for every 1,000 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 'unknown' and are not counted in the arrest rates by ethnicity. 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 arrests data in 2016/17

Therefore, some data has been estimated for these forces.

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

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.

Ethnic groups and how data on ethnicity is collected

Arrests by ethnicity

Arrest rate per 1,000 people, and number of arrests, by ethnicity

Ethnicity Arrest rate per 1,000 Number of arrests
All 14 779,660
Asian 14 51,730
Black 38 71,609
Mixed 26 25,196
White 12 567,233
Other inc Chinese 10 12,103
Unknown N/A* 51,789

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • overall, there were 779,660 arrests in England and Wales in 2016/17, at a rate of 14 arrests per 1,000 people
  • White people made up 78% of arrests in 2016/17 (where ethnicity was known), compared with 86% of the total population of England and Wales at the time of the 2011 Census
  • Black people were over 3 times more likely to be arrested than White people – there were 38 arrests for every 1,000 Black people, and 12 arrests for every 1,000 White people
  • people with Mixed ethnicity were over 2 times more likely to be arrested than White people – there were 26 arrests for every 1,000 people with Mixed ethnicity, and 12 arrests for every 1,000 White people

Arrests 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 Unknown
Time Rate Number of arrests Rate Number of arrests Rate Number of arrests Rate Number of arrests Rate Number of arrests Rate Number of arrests Rate Number of arrests
2006/07 26 1,474,843 18 69,591 56 105,145 43 40,882 24 1,133,468 16 19,408 N/A* 106,349
2007/08 26 1,475,266 20 74,755 59 109,206 43 40,726 24 1,170,527 17 21,103 N/A* 58,949
2008/09 26 1,462,139 21 78,422 60 111,271 42 40,256 24 1,178,536 17 20,931 N/A* 32,723
2009/10 25 1,385,322 20 78,124 60 110,977 42 40,133 23 1,103,206 17 20,249 N/A* 32,633
2010/11 24 1,353,740 21 79,540 61 113,085 43 40,779 22 1,075,562 16 19,556 N/A* 25,218
2011/12 22 1,225,123 19 72,361 55 102,326 39 37,516 20 972,938 14 17,289 N/A* 22,693
2012/13 19 1,068,823 17 65,277 47 88,540 34 32,587 18 844,957 13 15,398 N/A* 22,064
2013/14 18 1,024,969 17 64,376 46 86,337 33 31,223 17 803,069 12 14,737 N/A* 25,227
2014/15 17 946,759 16 60,709 45 83,461 31 29,599 15 735,128 11 13,926 N/A* 23,936
2015/16 16 885,516 15 59,142 44 82,025 30 28,639 14 654,619 12 14,291 N/A* 46,800
2016/17 14 779,660 14 51,730 38 71,609 26 25,196 12 567,233 10 12,103 N/A* 51,789

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Summary

This data 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
  • 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 12 arrests per 1,000 – a decrease of 50%
  • in the same period, the arrest rate for people with Mixed ethnicity went down from 43 arrests per 1,000 to 26 arrests per 1,000 – a decrease of 38%
  • the arrest rate for people from the Other ethnic group went down from 16 arrests per 1,000 people in 2006/07 to 10 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 32%
  • 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%
  • there were 105,856 fewer arrests in 2016/17 compared to the previous year, a fall of 12%

Arrests by ethnicity and area

Arrest rate per 1,000 people, and number of arrests, by ethnicity and police force area

All Asian Black Mixed White Other inc Chinese
Police Force Area Rate Number of arrests Rate Number of arrests Rate Number of arrests Rate Number of arrests Rate Number of arrests Rate Number of arrests
All 14 779,660 14 51,730 38 71,609 26 25,196 12 567,233 10 12,103
Avon & Somerset 17 26,694 15 508 68 2,095 31 878 15 22,432 15 228
Bedfordshire 13 8,296 14 1,131 35 1,040 22 414 12 5,541 13 117
Cambridgeshire 14 11,022 16 636 60 612 22 354 12 8,916 13 161
Cheshire 13 13,214 14 180 79 258 15 152 12 12,421 14 74
Cleveland 22 12,016 17 297 65 204 19 109 22 11,332 15 66
Cumbria 15 7,588 19 54 104 60 18 44 15 7,293 42 68
Derbyshire 13 12,910 18 681 41 411 19 273 12 11,365 20 146
Devon & Cornwall 7 11,881 17 193 62 255 9 133 6 10,353 11 101
Dorset 12 8,598 13 135 128 411 16 153 10 7,338 10 59
Durham 15 9,145 18 94 61 65 13 55 15 8,788 19 57
Dyfed-Powys 9 4,483 11 49 61 52 8 26 9 4,322 3 7
Essex 13 22,603 5 213 15 518 7 190 4 6,896 5 77
Gloucestershire 9 5,094 14 152 63 327 15 128 7 4,268 24 71
Greater Manchester 12 31,275 11 2,689 26 1,932 18 1,095 11 23,964 10 550
Gwent 10 5,871 16 163 35 112 19 103 10 5,353 16 57
Hampshire 8 15,675 6 338 39 674 11 344 8 13,612 7 155
Hertfordshire 12 13,846 12 767 39 1,217 21 569 11 10,290 8 130
Humberside 13 12,292 16 201 53 239 18 144 13 11,596 9 64
Kent 15 26,076 14 758 59 1,356 18 492 13 21,441 33 514
Lancashire 14 20,012 11 1,178 40 214 17 283 13 17,737 4 43
Leicestershire 10 10,685 8 1,276 42 1,035 19 388 10 7,807 7 139
Lincolnshire 13 9,595 19 105 60 153 20 126 13 8,874 35 99
London, City of N/A* 1,499 N/A* 201 N/A* 265 N/A* 85 N/A* 802 N/A* 33
Merseyside 18 24,856 18 342 52 763 25 515 17 22,638 15 319
Metropolitan Police 19 152,192 14 19,351 39 41,977 23 9,282 14 70,423 15 5,972
Norfolk 14 11,676 5 49 26 121 7 71 5 3,784 12 64
North Wales 18 12,704 16 103 77 116 15 72 16 11,025 16 70
North Yorkshire 13 10,742 12 118 35 128 16 122 12 9,332 10 61
Northamptonshire 13 8,712 13 304 45 757 22 314 11 7,014 18 99
Northumbria 15 21,658 14 541 39 353 10 128 15 20,453 3 54
Nottinghamshire 13 14,531 22 1,071 17 454 20 624 11 10,976 9 132
South Wales 19 24,743 14 492 52 663 19 333 18 22,004 9 175
South Yorkshire 10 13,772 11 628 27 701 10 200 10 11,992 7 176
Staffordshire 13 14,611 21 730 60 511 28 396 12 12,725 21 157
Suffolk 9 6,916 5 50 20 137 6 80 4 2,537 8 38
Surrey 7 8,264 10 518 40 491 11 262 7 6,671 5 94
Sussex 11 17,506 13 525 75 1,071 16 480 9 13,388 12 193
Thames Valley 15 34,614 18 3,537 44 3,054 33 1,833 12 23,622 11 360
Warwickshire 11 5,730 14 311 62 277 23 186 10 4,854 7 34
West Mercia 11 13,649 22 476 77 388 20 275 11 12,376 14 82
West Midlands 13 36,257 11 5,294 26 4,276 20 1,959 12 23,303 10 646
West Yorkshire 17 37,760 18 5,068 32 1,506 27 1,318 15 28,062 10 318
Wiltshire 12 8,397 13 223 59 360 21 208 11 7,313 11 43

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Summary

This data shows that:

  • in Durham, Cumbria, Dyfed-Powys, and North Wales, 3% of people arrested were from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined (the lowest percentage out of all police force areas)
  • in London, 52% of people arrested were from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined (the highest percentage out of all police force areas)
  • 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)

Arrests by ethnicity and gender

Arrest rate per 1,000 people, and number of arrests, by ethnicity and gender

Female Male
Ethnicity Arrest rate per 1,000 Number of arrests Arrest rate per 1,000 Number of arrests
All 4 119,937 24 659,723
Asian 2 4,077 25 47,653
Black 8 8,188 71 63,421
Mixed 7 4,103 34 21,093
White 4 93,480 20 473,753
Other inc Chinese 4 1,801 21 10,302
Unknown N/A* 8,288 N/A* 43,501

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Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2016/17, 16% 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
  • women made up 12% of total number of people arrested from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups, compared with 17% of those arrested from the White ethnic group
  • Black men were three and a half times more likely to be arrested than White men – there were 71 arrests for every 1,000 Black men, and 20 arrests for every 1,000 White men

  • Black women were over twice as likely to be arrested as White women – there were 8 arrests for every 1,000 Black women, and 4 arrests for every 1,000 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.

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.

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, number of arrests, population and rate and proportions of arrests