Stop and search

Published

Last updated 14 September 2020 - see all updates

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%.

Methodology

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

Stop and search rate per 1,000 people, and number of stop and search incidents, by ethnicity
Ethnicity Stop and search rate per 1,000 people Number of stop and searches
All 7 375,588
Asian 11 41,472
Bangladeshi 21 9,610
Indian 4 5,310
Pakistani 10 11,207
Asian other 18 15,345
Black 38 70,648
Black African 24 24,139
Black Caribbean 31 18,488
Black other 100 28,021
Mixed 11 13,014
Mixed White/Asian 4 1,267
Mixed White/Black African 9 1,523
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 12 4,931
Mixed other 18 5,293
White 4 187,761
White British 3 155,185
White Irish 5 2,820
White other 12 29,756
Other including Chinese 7 6,457
Chinese 1 538
Any other 11 5,919
Unknown N/A* 56,236

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

Summary of Stop and search By ethnicity Summary

This data shows that:

  • there were 375,588 stop and searches in England and Wales between April 2018 and March 2019, at a rate of 7 per 1,000 people
  • there were 4 stop and searches for every 1,000 White people, compared with 38 for every 1,000 Black people
  • there were 11 stop and searches per 1,000 Asian people, and also 11 per 1,000 people with Mixed ethnicity
  • the 3 Black ethnic groups had the highest rates of stop and search out of all 16 individual ethnic groups
  • the Black Other group had the highest rate overall, at 100 stop and searches per 1,000 people – this group includes people who didn’t identify (or weren't recorded) as Black African or Black Caribbean

4. By ethnicity over time

Stop and search rate per 1,000 people, by ethnicity over time
Ethnicity 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19
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
All 25 23 21 18 16 10 7 5 5 7
Asian 39 37 32 24 19 11 9 8 8 11
Bangladeshi 70 65 55 37 31 16 16 12 13 21
Indian 24 21 17 12 8 5 4 3 3 4
Pakistani 38 37 34 28 22 13 10 8 7 10
Asian other 48 49 44 33 28 16 14 13 13 18
Black 117 113 95 65 55 34 31 30 29 38
Black African 73 70 60 40 34 22 20 19 19 24
Black Caribbean 153 139 112 74 59 36 31 28 26 31
Black other 199 205 187 135 117 74 71 71 73 100
Mixed 35 31 29 23 20 13 10 9 9 11
Mixed White/Asian 12 9 9 7 7 4 3 3 3 4
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
Mixed other 44 39 42 34 28 18 15 13 14 18
White 19 17 16 15 13 8 5 4 3 4
White British 17 16 15 14 12 7 4 3 3 3
White Irish 19 18 18 15 14 8 6 5 4 5
White other 41 36 35 31 27 17 13 10 9 12
Other including Chinese 21 19 16 13 12 8 6 5 5 7
Chinese 13 8 6 5 6 3 2 1 1 1
Any other 27 27 24 18 17 11 9 7 7 11
Unknown N/A* N/A* N/A* N/A* N/A* N/A* N/A* N/A* N/A* N/A*

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

Summary of Stop and search By ethnicity over time Summary

This data shows that, between 2017/18 and 2018/19:

  • the national rate increased for the first time since 2009/10, from 5 to 7 stop and searches per 1,000 people
  • stop and search rates increased in every ethnic group except White British and Chinese (where they stayed the same)

Between 2009/10 and 2018/19:

  • the national stop and search rate went down from 25 to 7 per 1,000 people
  • the stop and search rate for White people was lower than the national rate every year
  • the rates for the Asian, Black, and Mixed ethnic groups were higher than the national rate every year

  • the Chinese, White British, and Mixed White and Asian ethnic groups consistently had the lowest stop and search rates out of all 16 ethnic groups

  • the Black African, Black Caribbean and Other Black groups consistently had the highest rates

5. By ethnicity and area

Stop and search rate per 1,000 people, 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 - includingluding BTP 7 11 38 11 4 7
Avon & Somerset 4 4 18 6 2 2
Bedfordshire 4 4 7 6 2 2
British Transport Police N/A* N/A* N/A* N/A* N/A* N/A*
Cambridgeshire 2 3 10 4 1 2
Cheshire 2 2 17 3 2 2
Cleveland 1 3 8 0 1 3
Cumbria 3 6 24 3 3 2
Derbyshire 2 4 10 4 1 0
Devon & Cornwall 3 2 19 2 2 1
Dorset 3 4 62 4 2 3
Durham 3 3 8 6 3 2
Dyfed-Powys 5 9 40 8 5 1
Essex 5 7 23 7 4 3
Gloucestershire 1 1 8 3 1 0
Greater Manchester 2 2 8 3 1 1
Gwent 4 14 25 12 3 4
Hampshire 4 4 38 7 3 2
Hertfordshire 6 6 20 13 4 6
Humberside 2 2 10 2 1 0
Kent 4 5 30 5 3 4
Lancashire 3 4 11 3 2 1
Leicestershire 3 2 12 4 2 1
Lincludingolnshire 4 6 26 11 3 4
London, City of N/A* N/A* N/A* N/A* N/A* N/A*
Merseyside 15 10 43 13 13 7
Metropolitan Police 22 19 51 17 11 13
Norfolk 4 4 30 12 3 3
North Wales 3 3 9 3 3 2
North Yorkshire 2 7 11 5 2 1
Northamptonshire 3 5 20 7 2 3
Northumbria 2 4 9 2 2 0
Nottinghamshire 3 4 11 5 2 2
South Wales 8 11 42 14 7 4
South Yorkshire 4 7 11 6 3 1
Staffordshire 4 9 22 8 3 3
Suffolk 3 4 18 8 2 9
Surrey 5 9 33 9 4 3
Sussex 4 7 43 6 3 5
Thames Valley 4 5 11 7 2 2
Warwickshire 3 6 26 10 3 1
West Mercia 3 11 38 7 3 2
West Midlands 6 10 18 15 4 1
West Yorkshire 4 6 8 4 3 2
Wiltshire 2 3 12 3 2 2

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

Summary of Stop and search By ethnicity and area Summary

This data shows that, between April 2018 and March 2019:

  • the Metropolitan Police in London made almost half (48%) of all stops and searches in England and Wales
  • there were 22 stop and searches for every 1,000 people in London, compared with 4 per 1,000 people in the rest of England and Wales
  • there were 51 stop and searches for every 1,000 Black people in London, compared with 19 per 1,000 Black people in the rest of England and Wales
  • London had the highest rates of stop and search for all ethnic groups apart from Black (Dorset) and White (Merseyside)
  • police in Dorset were 25 times more likely to stop Black people than White people (the biggest difference between ethnic groups)
  • police were 14 times more likely to stop Black people than White people in Sussex and West Mercia
  • Black people had the highest stop and search rates in every police force area for which there was data
  • the rate for Asian people was 5 times higher than the rate for White people in Gwent
  • the rate for people with Mixed ethnicity was 5 times the rate for White people in Gloucestershire
  • Gloucestershire, Cleveland and Greater Manchester had the lowest overall rates

6. By ethnicity and legislation over time

Numbers of stop and searches, by legislation and ethnicity over time
All Asian Black Mixed White Other Unknown
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
2009/10 1,169,012 102,428 119,639 111,192 17,295 19,137 169,573 10,164 39,364 35,114 2,307 5,228 785,691 60,608 47,879 14,268 4,435 1,426 53,174 7,619 6,605
2010/11 1,220,248 9,722 62,344 125,828 1,787 12,420 185,806 964 23,283 34,542 225 2,772 806,568 5,550 19,571 16,898 473 1,032 50,606 723 3,266
2011/12 1,136,117 0 46,882 115,842 0 7,831 161,058 0 16,791 32,831 0 2,245 763,246 0 16,238 14,830 0 763 48,310 0 3,014
2012/13 1,004,757 0 5,340 91,709 0 539 119,998 0 1,921 28,463 0 227 706,081 0 2,187 12,245 0 79 46,261 0 387
2013/14 893,267 0 3,896 73,243 0 361 100,907 0 1,126 24,355 0 186 638,832 0 1,846 11,558 0 51 44,372 0 326
2014/15 534,614 0 1,055 42,214 0 82 63,532 0 172 15,313 0 39 375,059 0 661 7,361 0 13 31,135 0 88
2015/16 380,940 0 965 35,513 0 88 58,217 0 209 12,374 0 16 225,900 0 547 5,465 0 11 29,473 0 94
2016/17 298,600 0 628 29,010 0 25 54,881 0 169 10,484 0 16 169,167 0 309 4,379 0 7 30,679 0 102
2017/18 274,754 130 2,494 28,504 16 272 53,427 7 955 10,338 4 127 146,660 45 619 4,624 1 36 31,201 57 485
2018/19 362,505 0 13,083 39,645 0 1,827 65,790 0 4,858 12,372 0 642 185,092 0 2,669 6,243 0 214 53,363 0 2,873

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

Summary of Stop and search By ethnicity and legislation over time Summary

This data covers stop and search of individuals under the following acts:

  • section 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (and associated legislation including section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971) – the police can stop and search someone they think is carrying items like stolen property or drugs
  • section 44/47a of the Terrorism Act 2000 – the police can stop and search someone if they suspect an act of terrorism is about to take place (after authorisation by a senior officer)
  • section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 – the police can stop and search someone within an authorised area to prevent violence involving weapons

This data shows that, between April 2018 and March 2019:

  • 97% of all stop and searches in England and Wales were under section 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act
  • 3% of stop and searches were under section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, up from 0.2% in the financial year ending March 2018
  • no stop and searches were conducted under section 47A of the Terrorism Act
  • there were 13,083 stop and searches under section 60, up from 628 in 2016/17 and 2,496 in 2017/18
  • 4,858 section 60 stop and searches involved Black people, the highest number out of all ethnic groups for this legislation
  • 1,827 section 60 stop and searches involved Asian people, compared with 272 the previous year (the biggest increase out of all ethnic groups)

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 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

Stop and search data - Spreadsheet (csv) 2 MB

This file contains the following: measure, ethnicity, year, geography, legislation type, population estimates, number, rate per 1,000, percentage