Stop and search
Last updated 14 September 2020 - see all updates
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- 1. Navigate toMain facts and figures section
- 2. Navigate toThings you need to know section
- 3. Navigate toBy ethnicity section
- 4. Navigate toBy ethnicity over time section
- 5. Navigate toBy ethnicity and area section
- 6. Navigate toBy ethnicity and legislation over time section
- 7. Navigate toData sources section
- 8. Navigate toDownload the data section
1. Main facts and figures
- between April 2018 and March 2019, there were 375,588 stop and searches in England and Wales (excluding vehicle searches)
- there were 7 stop and searches for every 1,000 people, down from 25 per 1,000 people between April 2009 and March 2010
- stop and search rates have fallen for every ethnic group, but at different rates
- between April 2018 and March 2019, there were 4 stop and searches for every 1,000 White people, compared with 38 for every 1,000 Black people
- almost half of all stop and searches took place in the Metropolitan Police force area in London
- there were 22 stop and searches for every 1,000 people in London, the highest rate out of all police force areas
- London had the highest stop and search rates for all ethnic groups apart from Black (Dorset) and White (Merseyside)
2. Things you need to know
What the data measures
The data shows:
- the number of stop and searches for different ethnic groups in England and Wales
- how many stop and searches there were for every 1,000 people in each ethnic group (the ‘rate’)
Stop and search rates are given to the nearest whole number.
Unrounded data was used to work out stop and search rates and differences between ethnic groups.
Not included in the data
The data does not include vehicle searches, as ethnicity information is not collected during the search.
The ethnic groups used in the data
The data uses ethnic groups from the 2001 Census. Population estimates come from the 2011 Census, but have been adjusted to follow the 2001 ethnic groups.
If someone doesn’t give their ethnicity, it is recorded as ‘unreported’. Stop and searches with unreported ethnicity are included in the rate for ‘All’ ethnic groups.
In the 10 years to March 2019, the percentage of stop and searches with unreported ethnicity went up from 5% to 15%.
Read the detailed methodology document for this data.
Someone who is stopped and searched is usually asked for their ethnicity. The circumstances of a stop and search may affect the accuracy of this information.
This can be seen by the high rate of stop and searches for the ‘Other’ categories within most ethnic groups. For example, 40% of stop and searches of Black people in the year ending March 2019 were assigned to the 'Other Black' ethnic group. The percentage for the ‘Other Asian’ ethnic group is similarly high (37%).
Stop and searches are not spread evenly across England and Wales. For example, the Metropolitan Police made 79% of all searches of Black people in the year ending March 2019. National rates are influenced by the higher number of incidents involving certain ethnic groups in certain police force areas.
National rates are an average of all police force areas, and may not reflect the rates in any individual police force areas.
Population data from the 2011 Census is used to work out the rate per 1,000 people in each area. Read more about the problems using Census data.
In the data file
See Download the data for:
- the number of stop and searches by ethnicity and police force area
- stop and search rates rounded to 2 decimal places
- the number of stop and searches with unreported ethnicity
3. By ethnicity
|Ethnicity||Stop and search rate per 1,000 people||Number of stop and searches|
|Mixed White/Black African||9||1,523|
|Mixed White/Black Caribbean||12||4,931|
|Other including Chinese||7||6,457|
Summary of Stop and search By ethnicity Summary
4. By ethnicity over time
|Rate per 1,000||Rate per 1,000||Rate per 1,000||Rate per 1,000||Rate per 1,000||Rate per 1,000||Rate per 1,000||Rate per 1,000||Rate per 1,000||Rate per 1,000|
|Mixed White/Black African||28||24||21||17||15||10||8||7||7||9|
|Mixed White/Black Caribbean||49||44||38||32||27||17||13||11||10||12|
|Other including Chinese||21||19||16||13||12||8||6||5||5||7|
Summary of Stop and search By ethnicity over time Summary
5. By ethnicity and area
|Police force area||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 - including BTP||7||11||38||11||4||7|
|Avon & Somerset||4||4||18||6||2||2|
|British Transport Police||N/A*||N/A*||N/A*||N/A*||N/A*||N/A*|
|Devon & Cornwall||3||2||19||2||2||1|
|London, City of||N/A*||N/A*||N/A*||N/A*||N/A*||N/A*|
Summary of Stop and search By ethnicity and area Summary
6. By ethnicity and legislation over time
|Time||All Section 1||All Section 44/47A||All Section 60||Asian Section 1||Asian Section 44/47A||Asian Section 60||Black Section 1||Black Section 44/47A||Black Section 60||Mixed Section 1||Mixed Section 44/47A||Mixed Section 60||White Section 1||White Section 44/47A||White Section 60||Other Section 1||Other Section 44/47A||Other Section 60||Unknown Section 1||Unknown Section 44/47A||Unknown Section 60|
Summary of Stop and search By ethnicity and legislation over time Summary
7. Data sources
Type of data
Type of statistic
Purpose of data source
Figures on stop and search incidents resulting in arrest 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, and resulting arrests. It informs discussions about crime, policing and criminal justice in government and academia, and ensures the public are accurately informed.
8. Download the data
This file contains the following: measure, ethnicity, year, geography, legislation type, population estimates, number, rate per 1,000, percentage