Stop and search data has been collected from the 43 territorial police forces in England and Wales, and the British Transport Police, since 2009/10.
Under the code of practice for the Statutory Powers of stop and search, officers are required to make a record of the details of a stop and search at the time of the encounter. The person they stop and search can ask for a copy of the record, which reduces the risk of a stop and search going unrecorded.
Some police forces are moving towards electronic recording of stop and search to ensure that data is quickly and accurately transferred to their systems. Other forces still use paper records to record encounters, which are more likely to involve errors, or may not be uploaded into force systems in a timely manner.
The use of stop and search, and its subsequent recording, is 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 also undertake quality assurance checks. Any inconsistencies or unusual trends are flagged with police forces, who are requested to either explain the trends, or resubmit to amend the data. All data is then confirmed by police forces before publication.
Population figures are based on the 2011 Census from the Office for National Statistics, broken down by ethnicity and police force area. Because stop and search data uses the ethnic categories from the 2001 Census, the population data has been recategorised by the Home Office to match the 2001 categories – the main result of this is the Chinese ethnic group is included under the Other broad ethnic group, not the Asian broad ethnic group.
Stop and search rates are given to the nearest whole number. You can see more detailed estimates if you download the data.