Stop and search
- 1. Navigate toMain facts and figures section
- 2. Navigate toThings you need to know section
- 3. Navigate to By ethnicity section
- 4. Navigate to By ethnicity over time section
- 5. Navigate to By ethnicity and area section
- 6. Navigate to By ethnicity and legislation section
- 7. Navigate toData sources section
- 8. Navigate toDownload the data section
1. Main facts and figures
- in the year ending 31 March 2022, there were 516,684 stop and searches in England and Wales (not including vehicle searches)
- ethnicity was not known or recorded for 103,221 (20.0%) of them
- there were 8.7 stop and searches for every 1,000 people – down from 24.8 per 1,000 people in the year ending March 2010
- there were 27.2 stop and searches for every 1,000 black people, compared with 5.6 for every 1,000 white people
- about 40% of all stop and searches took place in the Metropolitan Police force area in London
- there were 31.9 stop and searches for every 1,000 people in Merseyside – the highest rate out of all police force areas
- London had the highest stop and search rates for the black and Asian ethnic group, and Merseyside had the highest rates for the white, mixed and ‘other’ ethnic groups
Analysis by Vomfell and Stewart (2021) suggests that the disproportionate use of stop and search on members of ethnic minority groups is the result of 2 different factors: the ethnic composition of crime suspects that officers interact with, and the ethnic composition of the areas they patrol.
Home Office analysis shows that many of the disparities in the relative rates of stop and search for ethnic groups have fallen. These decreases can be seen when comparing the disparities in the rates of stop and search for ethnic groups, relative to the white group, using the 2021 Census population rates. Nonetheless, these decreases have not removed these disparities, nor have they been consistent across different police force areas.
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 rounded to 1 decimal place. 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 because ethnicity information is not collected during these searches.
The ethnic groups used in the data
The data for the 2 years ending 31 March 2022 uses the 19 ethnic groups from the 2021 Census.
The data for:
- the year ending March 2020 uses the 18 ethnic groups from the 2011 Census
- the 11 years ending March 2019 uses the 16 ethnic groups from the 2001 Census
If someone does not 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 12 years to March 2022, the percentage of stop and searches with unreported ethnicity went up from 5% to 20%.
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, 47% of stop and searches of black people in the year ending March 2022 were assigned to the ‘black other’ ethnic group. The percentage for the ‘Asian other’ ethnic group is similarly high (41%).
Data for the last 2 years is not comparable with previous years due to the different ethnic group categories used. This means the time series data shown here only includes the years from April 2020 to March 2022.
Download the data for data from April 2006 to March 2020.
Data for Greater Manchester Police Force for the period of April 2019 to March 2020 is incomplete, and totals for this period should be interpreted with caution.
Stop and searches are not spread evenly across England and Wales. For example, the Metropolitan Police made 74% of all stop and searches of black people in the year ending March 2022. 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.
You can read more about interpreting stop and search statistics, including why we no longer compare ethnic groups using relative likelihoods (such as ‘5 times as likely’) for England and Wales as a whole.
How stop and search rates are calculated
The overall rate of stop and search is calculated by taking the number of people stopped and searched from a particular ethnic group out of every 1,000 people from the same group.
The regional proportional rate of stop and search is calculated by taking the number of people stopped and searched from a particular ethnic group out of the total number of stops and searches for a given area.
Population data from the 2011 Census is used to work out the rate per 1,000 people in each area up to the year ending March 2020. Population data from the 2021 Census is used to work out the rate in each area after that. Read more about the problems using Census data.
3. By ethnicity
|Ethnicity||Rate of stop and search||Number of stop and searches|
|Mixed White and Asian||3.7||1,817|
|Mixed White and Black African||6.9||1,714|
|Mixed White and Black Caribbean||10.1||5,176|
|Gypsy or Irish Traveller||9.1||619|
|Any Other Ethnic Background||8.7||8,037|
Summary of Stop and search By ethnicity Summary
4. By ethnicity over time
|Ethnicity||2020/21 Rate of stop and search||2020/21 Number||2021/22 Rate of stop and search||2021/22 Number|
|Any Other Asian Background||32.5||31,629||20.7||20,132|
|Any Other Black Background||148.8||44,309||103.3||30,759|
|Mixed White and Asian||4.7||2,293||3.7||1,817|
|Mixed White and Black African||9.2||2,302||6.9||1,714|
|Mixed White and Black Caribbean||13.2||6,774||10.1||5,176|
|Any Other Mixed/Multiple Ethnic Background||21.5||10,043||16.1||7,500|
|Gypsy or Irish Traveller||8.9||604||9.1||619|
|Any Other White Background||14.9||54,549||10.3||37,707|
|Any Other Ethnic Background||12.0||11,047||8.7||8,037|
Summary of Stop and search By ethnicity over time Summary
5. By ethnicity and area
|Police force area||All||Asian||Black||Mixed||White||Other|
|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||8.7||8.9||27.2||9.4||5.6||6.8|
|British Transport Police||N/A*||N/A*||N/A*||N/A*||N/A*||N/A*|
|London, City of||306.6||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
|All||Section 1||Section 60|
|Ethnicity||All % of searches under this legislation||All Number of searches||Section 1 % of searches under this legislation||Section 1 Number of searches||Section 60 % of searches under this legislation||Section 60 Number of searches|
Summary of Stop and search By ethnicity and legislation Summary
7. Data sources
Type of data
Type of statistic
Purpose of data source
Figures on arrests and stop and search reported to the Home Office are used to create greater transparency in the use of police powers 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 arrests and 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
This file contains the following: measure, ethnicity, year, police force area, legislation type, number of stop and searches, rate of stop and search, proportion of stop and searches, population estimates