Havering stop and search stats reveal racial disparities

Embargoed to 0001 Monday March 8 Female police officers and special constables talk to a suspect fol

Met officers talk to a suspect following a stop and search - Credit: PA

Black and Asian people were disproportionately stopped and searched by police in Havering last year, figures show. 

Statistics from the Met’s stop and search dashboard revealed that in 2021, there were 66.7 searches of black people per one thousand population, compared with 44.1 for Asian people and 14.5 for white people. 

The ‘positive outcome’ rate – which includes arrests, community resolutions and penalty notices – was similar for each demographic: 28.4pc for black people, 28.9pc for Asian people and 27.8pc for white people. 

A Met Police spokesperson said the force was aware of the disparities in use of stop and search, but said it was a “tragic truth” that knife crime and street violence disproportionately affect young men of African-Caribbean heritage, both as victims and perpetrators. 

They said they “very deliberately” target areas with higher levels of violent and serious crime which “often tend to be home to more diverse communities” and claimed that if officers were targeting people based on ethnicity then the ‘positive outcome’ rate for that targeted group would be lower. 

“While we wish stop and search was not necessary, it is a vital tool in preventing violence. Stop and search powers save lives and are an important tactic in identifying criminality, as well as taking drugs and dangerous weapons off the streets,” they added. 

Weapons stops accounted for just 11.3pc of stops in Havering last year, with drugs the most common reason for searches (66.6pc). 

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A spokesperson for campaign group StopWatch said racial disproportionality in stop and searches was “unacceptable” and that “the problems in Havering reflect that of many London boroughs”.  

They claimed statistics disprove the Met’s claim that stop and search is a “vital tool” in the battle against knife crime, with most searches not leading to further action.  

In Havering last year, 72.1pc of stop and searches resulted in no further action, 11.9pc resulted in arrests, 10.3pc in community resolutions and 4pc in penalty notices. 

“This leads us to believe that the vast majority of stop and searches are neither fairly targeted nor effective, and instead are the source of a great deal of trauma among individuals.", they said.