Arrests

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • there were 698,737 arrests in 2017/18, a fall of 8% on the previous year – both years’ figures exclude Lancashire Police (see ‘Things you need to know’)
  • 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 11 arrests for every 1,000 White people
  • overall, men were over 5 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
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.

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 13 698,737
Asian 12 46,276
Black 35 65,919
Mixed 25 23,805
White 11 505,780
Other inc Chinese 9 11,075
Unknown N/A* 45,882

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

Summary

This data shows that:

  • there were 698,737 arrests in England and Wales in 2017/18 (excluding the Lancashire police force area), at a rate of 13 arrests per 1,000 people
  • there were 62,501 fewer arrests in 2017/18 compared with the previous year, a fall of 8% (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 11 arrests for every 1,000 White people
  • people with Mixed ethnicity were over twice as likely to be arrested as White people – there were 25 arrests for every 1,000 people with Mixed ethnicity, and 11 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 Unknown
Time Arrest rate Number of arrests Arrest rate Number of arrests Arrest rate Number of arrests Arrest rate Number of arrests Arrest rate Number of arrests Arrest rate Number of arrests Arrest 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 17 947,658 16 60,737 45 83,519 31 29,631 15 735,879 11 13,928 N/A* 23,964
2015/16 16 886,342 15 59,183 44 82,072 30 28,667 14 655,279 12 14,301 N/A* 46,840
2016/17 14 781,250 14 51,850 39 71,937 27 25,383 12 569,207 10 12,155 N/A* 50,718

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

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 105,092 fewer arrests in 2016/17 compared with the previous year, a fall of 12%
  • 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 27 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 39 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%

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
Arrest per 1,000 Arrest per 1,000 Arrest per 1,000 Arrest per 1,000 Arrest per 1,000 Arrest per 1,000
All 13 12 35 25 11 9
Avon & Somerset 16 16 66 29 14 14
Bedfordshire 12 13 33 22 10 9
Cambridgeshire 21 26 97 38 19 18
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 & 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 36 18 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 17 18 49 19 16 15
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

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 Devon and Cornwall (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 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, there were 19 arrests for every 1,000 ethnic minority people compared with 12 arrests for every 1,000 White people
  • Cambridgeshire had the highest overall rate of arrests, at 21 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
Female Male
Ethnicity Arrest rate per 1,000 Number of arrests Arrest rate per 1,000 Number of arrests
All 4 102,919 22 595,818
Asian 2 3,321 23 42,955
Black 7 6,913 66 59,006
Mixed 6 3,538 34 20,267
White 3 80,632 18 425,148
Other inc Chinese 3 1,508 19 9,567
Unknown N/A* 7,007 N/A* 38,875

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

Summary

This data shows that:

  • overall in 2017/18, there were 4 arrests for every 1,000 women and 22 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 13 times as likely to be arrested as Asian women, the biggest difference between men and women from the same ethnic group – there were 23 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) 1 MB

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