House of Commons briefing paper: Police stop and search powers

Stop and search has become a controversial police power, which has been disproportionally used on BME individuals, despite academic evidence suggesting that stop and search only has a marginal impact on crime reduction.

This is according to a December 2019 briefing paper from the House of Commons on stop and search.

The report also finds that:

  • Black people were ten times more likely to be searched than white people in 2018/19
  • In May 2019 Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) reported that stop and search powers were not being monitored comprehensively enough, especially data on stop and searches by ethnicity
  • Despite a dramatic fall in stop and search in recent year due to reforms, in recent times the Government has been supportive of increasing use of stop and search as an important part of the response to serious violent crime
  • Disproportionate use of stop and search creates and reinforces mistrust between BME communities and the police. It is argued that this mistrust can undermine any positive impact the use of the tactic might have on detecting and preventing crime.

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