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.