Police Searches Discriminate Against Black People

Police Searches Discriminate Against Black People

Have you been stopped or searched by the police?

Do you think this was because you are black?

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), which oversees the police forces in England and Wales, found that the amount of black people stopped by police were still at an exceptionally high level compared to that of white people.

The 2016 HMIC report identified the worst forces for obeying a scheme they had voluntarily signed up for as Cumbria, Gloucestershire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Staffordshire, South Wales and Wiltshire. The officer leading the report identified that "the big issue with stop and search, the issue of disproportionality...has been around for many years".

In response to this discriminatory practice, the Government threatened to pass new laws if the police forces did not reform adequately.

Despite this Government pressure, black people are still six times more likely to be stopped by officers than white people. Furthermore, eight out of ten of these stops do not even result in an arrest or provide any evidence of criminality.

The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, has said that the disproportionate stops directed against black people were due to prejudice and that "no-one should be stopped on the basis of their race or ethnicity".

A spokesperson from 'Black Lives Matter UK' has commented that the figures show that searches are "prejudice led" and it demonstrates the institutional racism inherent in the UK police forces. This institutional racism goes back nearly twenty years and was famously highlighted in the Macpherson Report (1999) which reviewed the investigation of the Metropolitan police into the racist murder of the black teenager, Stephen Lawrence.

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