Stop and search rises 24% despite multiple COVID lockdowns


Last week saw the fears of many campaign groups seemingly confirmed as new figures from the Home Office revealed a 24% rise in stop and search cases over the last year, despite several lockdowns.

These concerns were documented as recently as two weeks ago, as the Home Office's decision to delay the report due to "data quality issues" was roundly criticised. Spokepersons from Liberty and Netpol both questioned the transparency of policing following the move, while OBV alumna and founder of  Unjust-UK, Katrina Ffrench said the delay would only serve to undermine the government's legitimacy.

“Without transparency there cannot be proper accountability or scrutiny. Ultimately, police legitimacy will continue to be undermined if the government persists with enacting the bill and ignoring its own data.”

The Data

The latest figures, which cover the year ending March 2021, make for difficult reading. Disparity rates are still stark with Black people searched seven times the rate of white individuals - a figure which is marginally down from last year's figure of nine. A significant portion of those stopped are between the ages of 15-34, while Individuals from Asian, and mixed-ethnic backgrounds were 2.4 and 2.6 times more likely to be stopped and searched than white individuals, respectively. 

Despite multiple lockdowns, Police stop and search powers were used in cases of 'reasonable suspicion' on 695,009 occasions - 24% more than last year. 79,391 of those searches resulted in an arrest. This figure is higher than last year in terms of the total volume of arrests, but the use of police stop and search powers were also less efficient, since the proportion of arrests from these searches decreased, to 11%. 

The new data has served to legitimise concerns over the effectiveness of police measures. In a interview with Talkradio where she was shamefully branded as 'a race grifter' by presenter Ian Collins, Katrina Ffrench said: "We saw a massive reduction in serious violence and knife crime last year yet we saw more stop and seach - there's something's going wrong here.

"That's the issue, that even when there's less violence and less knife crime black people are still overpoliced. So yes there's issues in society, but how the police are using their resources further undermines trust and confidence."