Socialist Worker

Police stop and search of black people rises 322 percent in a year

Issue No. 2150

Police powers have increased over recent years

Police powers have increased over recent years

Shocking statistics released by the home office last week revealed just how far stop and search is systematically used against black and Asian people.

The figures show a sharp rise in searches since the 7/7 London bombings.

The number of black people stopped and searched under anti-terrorism laws rose by 322 percent in a year.

The number of Asian people stopped under the same laws has risen by 277 percent.

These figures compare with a 185 percent rise for white people.

The statistics also show a 19 percent increase in the use of “section 60 powers”.

These give the police the right to abandon the normal rules of stop and search in a designated area for 24 hours.

The power allows police to carry out the searches without any reason to suspect that those searched are carrying a knife or other weapon.

There were 53,000 section 60 searches in 2007-8.

The majority of these took place in London, Liverpool and Birmingham.

The damning figures come just ten years after the Macpherson report into the police’s handling of the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence highlighted institutional racism in the police.

Black and Asian people face discrimination at all levels of the criminal justice system.

They make up 27 percent of the prison population in England and Wales.

Yet they only made up 6 percent of the British population in 2001.

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