Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Stop and search figures 'shocking'

Figures appear to show that police in England and Wales stop and search black people 26 times more than white people

A Labour MP has pointed to "shocking" figures suggesting that black people are 26 times more likely than white people to be stopped and searched by police in England and Wales.

Chuka Umunna (Streatham) called for an urgent debate on the analysis of Ministry of Justice data in the Observer newspaper.

During Commons exchanges on forthcoming business, he said: "The researchers said this was the most glaring example of racial profiling they have seen. I think these figures are shocking.

"Can I ask if we can have an urgent debate on this matter to discern whether the police in England and Wales are using their powers of stop and search appropriately?"

Commons Leader Sir George Young said: "We are against any racial profiling when it comes to stop and search. I will raise the issue with the Home Secretary and ask her to respond."

Under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, a police officer can stop and search anyone without suspicion in a designated area for a 24-hour period.

Analysis by the London School of Economics and the Open Society Justice Initiative in the Observer on Sunday found that in 2008-09, there were 41.6 searches for every 1,000 black people, compared with 1.6 for every 1,000 white people - making black people 26.6 times more likely to be stopped and searched.

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