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Thursday, 7 November, 2002, 19:23 GMT
Police still search more black people
Police searching a suspect
Police say stop and search is based on intelligence
Black people are now eight times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police than white people, new Home Office figures show.

Officers have also begun to carry out more stop and searches, following two years of decline in the wake of the 1999 Stephen Lawrence report, which branded them "institutionally racist".


Every time I see a police car, it's like - are they going to stop me?

Karl Josephs
The figures show that during 2000-2002 there were 714,000 stop and searches recorded in England and Wales of which 12% were of black people, 6% Asians and 1% of other ethnic minorities.

Black police leaders said the Home Office figures were evidence that some officers were reverting to their "old ways" as the impact of the Lawrence inquiry began to fade.

Ravi Chand, president of the National Black Police Association, said he was "concerned" at the continued disproportionate nature of stop and searches.

Open in new window : Stop and search
Figures by race and region

"What's the picture going to be like in the next eight to 10 years? Are you only going to be stopping black people?" he said.

Home Office Minister John Denham said a unit would be set up to examine the statistics and identify why ethnic minorities feature so heavily in all aspects of the criminal justice system.

He said the unit would identify why "a disproportionate number of black people are arrested".

The minister also announced that seven police forces will, from April next year, begin issuing certificates to every person they stop in the street, even if they do not search them.

'Wasting money'

The procedure was recommended in the Macpherson report which followed the Lawrence inquiry.

The father of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence welcomed the idea of the certificates but said the scheme should be implemented nationwide.

Neville Lawrence said money would be better spent on this than on the special unit to analyse crime figures.

Speaking at the National Black Police Association conference in Nottingham, he said: "We know what the problem is and we don't need another team to sort it out.

"That is just wasting money - put that money into implementing the programme for certificates for stop and search."

Stop and searches
1998-1999: 1.1m
1999-2000: 857,000
2000-2001: TBA
2001-2002: 714,000
Karl Josephs, a Birmingham disc jockey, said that in the past 10 years he had been stopped more than 40 times but had never been charged with an offence.

He has one conviction - for driving down a no-entry street, for which he was fined.

"It's a nightmare. Ten years of it, a decade, it's like 10 years of my life has been ruined.

"Every time I see a police car, it's like - are they going to stop me or are they going to carry on what they're doing," he said.

Mr Josephs is taking West Midlands Police to court - for the fourth time - claiming he is being stopped simply because he is a young black man.

The force said it would vigorously contest Mr Josephs' claims in court. It pointed out it had won the last case, although Mr Josephs claims to have won the first two hearings.

It also said its approach to stop and search had changed, to being more intelligence-led.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Niall Dickson
"The lack of trust felt by many black young people remains a worry"
John Denham, Home Office
"Stop and search is a legitimate tactic"
Ravi Chand of the National Black Police Association
"People are genuinely concerned about this"
Kevin Morris of the Police Superintendents Assc.
"If we're stopping the right people, the colour of their skin is irrelevant"

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