Stop and search
- 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 to 2019 section
- 5. Navigate toBy ethnicity over time from 2019 section
- 6. Navigate toBy ethnicity and area section
- 7. Navigate toBy ethnicity and legislation section
- 8. Navigate toData sources section
- 9. Navigate toDownload the data section
1. Main facts and figures
- in England and Wales between April 2020 and March 2021, there were 697,405 stop and searches in England and Wales (excluding vehicle searches)
- there were 12.4 stop and searches for every 1,000 people, down from 24.8 per 1,000 people in the year ending March 2010
- there were 7.5 stop and searches for every 1,000 white people, compared with 52.6 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 38.1 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
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 because ethnicity information is not collected during these searches.
The ethnic groups used in the data
The data for April 2019 to March 2021 uses the 18 ethnic groups from the 2011 Census.
Data from April 2009 to March 2019 uses the 16 ethnic groups from the 2001 Census.
Due to the different ethnic group categories used in the 2 most recent years of data, they are not comparable with previous years. This means the time series data only includes the years from April 2009 to March 2019. A separate comparison has been created for April 2019 to March 2021.
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 11 years to March 2021, the percentage of stop and searches with unreported ethnicity went up from 5% to 19%.
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, 45% of stop and searches of black people in the year ending March 2021 were assigned to the black other ethnic group. The percentage for the Asian other ethnic group is similarly high (42%).
Stop and searches are not spread evenly across England and Wales. For example, the Metropolitan Police made 77% of all searches of black people in the year ending March 2021. 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.
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.
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
- stop and search data for the years April 2006 to March 2009
- the number of stop and searches by legislation over time
3. By ethnicity
|Ethnicity||Rate of stop and search||Number of stop and searches|
|Mixed White/Black African||13.9||2,306|
|Mixed White/Black Caribbean||15.9||6,777|
Summary of Stop and search By ethnicity Summary
4. By ethnicity over time to 2019
|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||28.0||23.8||21.4||17.1||15.5||9.6||8.1||7.0||7.2||9.2|
|Mixed White/Black Caribbean||49.2||44.4||38.4||31.5||27.0||16.7||12.9||10.6||10.1||11.6|
|Other including Chinese||21.0||19.2||16.3||12.9||12.1||7.7||5.8||4.6||4.9||6.8|
Summary of Stop and search By ethnicity over time to 2019 Summary
5. By ethnicity over time from 2019
|Rate per 1,000||Rate per 1,000|
|Mixed White/Black African||13.1||14.5|
|Mixed White/Black Caribbean||16.0||16.5|
Summary of Stop and search By ethnicity over time from 2019 Summary
6. 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||12.4||17.8||52.6||17.5||7.5||20.4|
|Avon & Somerset||6.4||7.4||27.8||9.4||4.1||9.8|
|British Transport Police||N/A*||N/A*||N/A*||N/A*||N/A*||N/A*|
|Devon & Cornwall||4.8||3.4||39.0||6.7||3.5||7.2|
|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
7. By ethnicity and legislation
|All||Section 1||Section 60|
|Ethnicity||All % of stops under this legislation||All Number of stop and searches||Section 1 % of stops under this legislation||Section 1 Number of stop and searches||Section 60 % of stops under this legislation||Section 60 Number of stop and searches|
Summary of Stop and search By ethnicity and legislation Summary
8. 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.
9. 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