Black people four times more likely to be stopped and searched in Thames Valley

Human rights organisation Liberty has called on the government to invest in solutions to tackle the root causes of crime after new statistics reveal that black people were more than four times more likely to be stopped and searched than whites in Thames Valley.
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Home Office figures show Thames Valley Police carried out 2,025 stops and searches on black people in the year to March – equivalent to 21.7 per 1,000 black people in the area, based on recent census estimates.

This is compared to a rate of 4.5 per 1,000 white people in the region, meaning black people were 4.8 times as likely to be stopped and searched by police.

But across forces in England and Wales, numbers were down from 6.2 in 2021/22 to 5.5 last year.

Police stock image. Photo: Joe GiddensPolice stock image. Photo: Joe Giddens
Police stock image. Photo: Joe Giddens

Liberty spokesperson Akiko Hart said: "These figures show that the police are still unfairly targeting black people with degrading and traumatic stop and searches."

The revelations come as five Metropolitan Police officers have denied gross misconduct at a disciplinary hearing over the stop and search of athletes Bianca Williams and her partner Ricardo Dos Santos. The couple, who are black, were handcuffed after a stop and search in 2020.

Earlier this year, the Casey review into misconduct in the Met Police called for an action plan on reforming stop and search practices, including strip searches of children.

Ms Hart added it was particularly concerning that more than one in five stop and searches were done on youngsters: "We heard how police officers are 'rude or uncivil' and use 'excessive force' on children during searches, leaving them scared and humiliated.

"It only worsens division and alienation in our communities.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: "Nobody should be stopped and searched because of their ethnicity, and it is encouraging to see racial disparities in stop and search use fall in the past year.

"The Home Secretary has given her full support to frontline officers to use their powers to keep the streets safe and protect the public.

"Every knife taken off our streets is a potential life saved, and since 2019, we have removed 120,000 knives and offensive weapons from our streets through stop and search, surrender initiatives and other targeted police action."