HC Deb 08 May 1998 vol 311 c514W
Mr. Singh

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many stop and search incidents took place in each division of the Metropolitan Police in 1996 and 1997; if he will provide the ethnic breakdown of those stopped and searched; how many arrests were made per 100 stops for each ethnic group; and if he will make a statement. [40824]

Mr. Michael

Stop and search policy remains an effective technique for dealing with individuals about whom the police have reasonable suspicion. The policy protects communities but needs to be operated fairly.

The results of the first full year of ethnic monitoring of police activity, which includes stop and search, arrests, cautions and homicides, was published on 8 December 1997 under section 95 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991. This requires the Home Secretary to publish annually information he considers appropriate to enable those engaged in the administration of criminal justice to avoid discriminating against any person on the ground of race, sex or any other improper ground. The data brought to light areas of concern, particularly the disproportionate impact of stop and search on black people, which need to be probed further. Ethnic monitoring of police activity is an important step forward as it allows police forces to identify areas in which they need to take action to ensure that all sections of the community receive equal treatment.

The Commissioner tells me that the Metropolitan Police will continue to review stop and search policy, systems and procedures to ensure that this valuable but potentially sensitive activity is properly used and understood. He tells me that a new approach is being examined in a number of divisions. I look forward to hearing the outcome of the study.

The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis has provided tables of information on the Metropolitan Police's stop and search record for 1996 and 1997, copies of which have been placed in the Library.