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Stop & search rise could lead to police mistrust

Photo: Steve Punter

Dr John Sentamu: searched 8 times

The number of Stops and Searches endured by Black and Asian communities in the UK have increased by a massive 70% since 2004.

Recent statistics published by the Ministry of Justice have confirmed that the Black and particularly Muslim communities are being targeted at an alarming rate by police officers across the country.

The report comes as the Archbishop of York spoke out in a House of Lords debate about the issue. Bishop John Sentamu said that he had personally been stopped and searched 8 times The Archbishop recounting his experience said:

“When the policeman suddenly realised that I was a bishop, that didn’t stop me being stopped and searched.”

He went on to say that such police checks were often on the basis of  ‘He doesn’t look like one of us.’

The annual Ministry of Justice report entitled Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System 2008/09 states:

“The number of White people being Stopped and Searched increased by just under 30% between 2004/05 and 2008/09, while the number of Black and Asian people being Stopped and Searched increased by over 70%.”

Providing clear unambiguous evidence of the existence of both institutional racism and an informal culture among officer of racial profiling these figures will cause shock and anger among Britain’s minority communities.

Worryingly in London the number of African Caribbean and Asian primary school children stopped and searched by police doubled rising by 80% between April 2008 and March 2009.The figures show that the number of youngsters aged between 10 and 17 searched by police rose by 49% to 185,489 from 123,819 in 2007-8.

These figures are now producing great strains on local police community relations and with local black youth unemployment continuing to rise the likelihood of a further deterioration looks almost inevitable.

The report goes on to state:

“In England and Wales as a whole, Black and Asian people have seen a greater increase in the number of Stops and Searches per 1,000 of the population relative to White people over the last five years. Per 1,000 population, Black people were Stopped and Searched 5.8 times more than White people in 2004/05 compared to 7.2 times in 2008/09. Asian people were Stopped and Searched 1.7 times more than White people in 2004/05 compared to 2.1 times more in 2008/09.”

If the current trend of year on year increase continues then within the next 5 years the majority of black people in the UK, including children, will be routinely subject to unnecessary and oppressive policing tactics.

The Equality and Human Rights and Commission has already issued strong warning’s to several police services including the metropolitan Police Service demanding that huge overrepresentation of black people in stop and search figures are dramatically reduced.

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10 Responses

  1. “The number of Stops and Searches endured by Black and Asian communities in the UK have increased by a massive 70% since 2004.”

    This is another sad legacy left behind by New Labour. When is the nation as a whole going to face up to the fact that the last New Labour government greatly abused its position in office?

    The figures quoted in the above thread is very disturbing indeed; especially at a time when New Labour continuously ate away at the RRA 1976; completely ignoring pleas to give it time to work.

    The Equality and Human Rights Commission has to step into this very disturbing problem, and should also check through the rest of the other government departments – especially the Employment Tribunal Service, the army and met. police – and deal with the problem of racism immediately.

    This problem is never going to go away, but, we need regulations in place that is going to control it. The last New Labour Government had cunningly re-introduced racism back in its very worse form in the hope that the white working class would vote and keep them in power. Gladly, they failed in their wicked endeavour.

  2. Here we go again, something some of us have been saying for donkey’s years only to be fobbed off by our Chiefs and their community safety sidekicks?

    We need to know do the police pick on people because they are Black. Or do some police officers? Or is there a demographic issue in the stats. But then one year the figures come out and Black people in power go off on one, then nothing happens for the year, then the figures are released again; by this time Black people have been appeased with MBE’s. When I say Black I mean Black and Asian.

    And if the police don’t stop people in areas hit by high crime because of fear, what then? And finally if the police stop White people but don’t record these stops, what then? The question is, post Macpherson, has there been real change inside policing?

    I would hazard a guess and say, yes there has been some change, but some police managers are still trying to fiddle the figures in relation to race hate crime 12 years on from Macpherson because high crime in this area is something they can’t stomach. Yes, the police are better served at dealing with victims, but inside, is the house in order? Er no.

    And take the CPS decision to prosecute a councillor for the use of the word “coconut.” We now have racially aggravated crime recorded here. Unbelievable and Liberal, but hardly anti racist.

    Still we shouldn’t blame the front line; the problem is stuck in the diversity unit’s incompetence and lack of independence. Most hardly have any input over front line policing issues because some simply don’t understand the nuances of race yet they hold hefty salaried positions. It’s all a major tick in the box.

  3. The fact is some police leaders are so embroiled in tackling terrorism that they appear to have put this issue on the back burner. It’s as if this issue doesn’t really matter. When we had the race riots and murder of Stephen Lawrence in the 90’s the NBPA was born and given credence.

    Then we had 9/11 and 7/7 OO-er, then low and behold the MPA was born. Now we have the Hindu Police Ass and the Sikh Police Ass as well as the Muslim Police Ass and the Black Police Ass. Classic classic divide and rule as now the new Black is Muslim, and it has been for some time.
    Oh, and this is not rhetoric this is the truth. As police leaders take some Muslim colleagues into their close quarters to consult; of course they will benefit by upwards moves in the near future, but the issue remains, is this damaging race relation’s? Yes, most definitely. All I say, is provable.

  4. There has to be a better way than what we have currently. I’m not sure how we can possibly weed out all of the bad and replace it with good. It seems like an impossible task.

  5. Capodimonte,

    “There has to be a better way than what we have currently. I’m not sure how we can possibly weed out all of the bad and replace it with good. It seems like an impossible task.”

    You have made a very telling point. The only way this can be effective is if we have a government with proper moral standards. What we’ve had for the past thirteen years under a very poor Labour Government is deception of the very worst. The coalition at present are an unknown quantity.

  6. I am with Yinka on this. Sadly NuLabour’s policies made out that there was effective change in race relations; there has been change, but not real change.

    Some leaders care not about race equality. They will do all they can to get a few middle class BME flag bearers in their photo shoot, but challenge them in detail and they fob you off;

    Now if this happens inside policing, what about the CJS, NHS, etc. And the NBPA have been very very quiet. NuLabour have not created freedom from racism. The Tories have never really been friendly in terms of race relations. And this Home Secretary is rather scary!

  7. It’s debateable whether politicans are the people to look to for freedom and liberation. We know the context of the abolition of slavery, the vote, colonial independence, and civil rights. The relevant legislation passed was done so under duress or with tactical objectives, not out of altruism and a sense of fair play.

  8. Ourselves. Own it, don’t moan it

  9. Whilst we have to own freedom; some of our community are quite happy with their yearly awards. But really it takes a government with any substance to change things. We have yet to see anything positive. Labour meant well but they spun things. And this government doesn’t do diversity. Note the debate of the Crown Jewels.

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