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British Transport Police

About this force

Recording stop and account? Yes
Force website Visit website

About the PCC in this area

Police & Crime Commissioner Mark Phillips (interim chair)
PCC website Visit website

How many searches do police do?

April 2016 – March 2017

The police conducted 2,673 stop and searches under PACE Section 1 across the area covered by British Transport Police.

This was a reduction of 28% from the previous year.

There were 0 stop and searches under Section 60 Criminal Justice & Public Order Act, a power which doesn’t require individual reasonable suspicion.

April 2015 – March 2016

The police conducted 3,703 stop and searches under PACE Section 1 across the area covered by British Transport Police.

This was a reduction of 45% from the previous year.

There were 13 stop and searches under Section 60 Criminal Justice & Public Order Act, a power which doesn’t require individual reasonable suspicion.

Stop and account

British Transport Police record stop and accounts.

BTP only records stop and accounts in certain areas of the country where the local police force also records these encounters, including across London.

In 2013/14, a total of 39,010 recorded stop and accounts where carried out. Of these:

  • 24,014 were of whites
  • 10,487 were of blacks
  • 3,569 were of Asians
  • 940 were from Chinese or other backgrounds.

Black people were subject to an account at 11.3 times the rate of whites, Asians at 1.9 times that rate and those from Chinese or Other backgrounds were encountered at 2.0 times the rate of whites. These disproportionality figures were calculated using the resident population based upon the 2011 census which may differ from the ethnic composition of the travelling population. Therefore, these disproportionality figures are indicative only.

What are searches targeted at?

Target Proportion of searches
Drugs61%
Stolen property19%
Offensive weapons9%
Other5%
Going equipped5%
Criminal damage1%
Firearms0%

How effective are police stop and searches?

A staggering 61% of all searches by BTP's officers in 2016/17 were for drugs rather than serious or violent crime. This has been consistently high in recent years; in 2015/16, this was 60%.

April 2016 – March 2017

-28% of stop and searches conducted under PACE Section 1 lead to an arrest.

April 2015 – March 2016

20% of stop and searches conducted under PACE Section 1 lead to an arrest.

Who is getting searched?

Disproportionality has risen in recent years. In 2016/17, black people were searched at 6 times the rate of white people (up from 5 in the previous year) and people from mixed backgrounds were searched at over 3 and a half times the rate of whites (up from 3 times). Asians were searched at marginally higher rates than whites (down from almost 1.5 times) and people from Chinese or other backgrounds were searched at half the rate of whites. These figures are derived from census data and so may not reflect the ethnic breakdown of the population using the train and railway networks police by the BTP.

In 2016/17, there were no searches conducted under section 60, a power that does not require officers to believe that a person is involved in violence or public disorder in order to search them. In the previous year, there were 13 searches under this power.

PACE disproportionality ratios

Ethnic groups Ratio
White : Black 1 : 6.0
White : Asian 1 : 1.1
White : Mixed 1 : 3.7
White : Other 1 : 0.5