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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 October 2007, 18:51 GMT
Stop and search 'race gap' grows
Police search a man
Critics say stop and search unfairly targets black people
Black people were almost seven times more likely than white people to be stopped and searched by police last year, according to official figures.

Ministry of Justice data shows the gap was even wider than in 2005, when black people were six times more likely to be stopped than white people.

Asians were about twice as likely to be stopped and searched as white people - about the same as the previous year.

In 2005/6 there were 878,153 stops and searches in England and Wales.

Of these, 15% were of black people and 8% were of Asian people.

Drug searches

For every 1,000 black people in England and Wales, there were an average of 102 stops and searches in 2005/6.

This is almost seven times greater than the average of 15 per 1,000 people within the white population.

The Metropolitan Police conducted 75% of all searches on black people in England and Wales.

Graph showing number of racist incidents each year since 1998/9

The most common reason for carrying out a search in any ethnic group was for drugs.

In 2005/6, 58% of stops of black people were for suspected drug offences, compared to 39% of white people.

Of those black people stopped, 13% were subsequently arrested. This compares to 12% of stops leading to arrest across all ethnic groups.

Prison population

The stop and search figures were published as part of a much wider report on race and the criminal justice system.

It found that the number of racially motivated crimes in England and Wales recorded by police had risen by 4% on the previous year to a total of 60,407.

It also analysed recorded homicides and found that black murder victims were almost six times as likely to have been shot than white victims.

The number of black people in prison as a proportion of the total population was 7.3 in 1,000.

That compares to 1.3 per 1,000 for white people and 1.7 per 1,000 for Asian people.

The Home Office said stop and search was a "vital tool" for police dealing with crime.

"The key to effective and fair use of stop and search is that it should be used in a targeted, intelligence-led way, with good grounds and based on accurate, up-to-date intelligence," said a spokesman.

"Our aim is to ensure that officers have the confidence to use the powers effectively to tackle crime, whilst promoting confidence in their use amongst all members of the community."

Graphic showing proportions of black, white and Asian people in England and Wales stopped, arrested and in jail


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