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NEW: Stop and search statistics (2014/2015)

The Home Office has published a report with data concerning police powers and procedures in England and Wales in the financial year 2014/2015. StopWatch has analysed the main trends and underlined the most interesting data about stop and search powers.


  • 539,788 searches were carried out in 2014/2015 in England and Wales, representing a fall of 40% compared to the previous year (895,975 searches in 2013/2014).
  • Overall in England and Wales there were 11 searches per 1,000 population. The Metropolitan Police Service in London (MPS) has the highest search rate at 20 searches per 1,000 population.
  • The arrest rate is 14%. But while 25% of searches led to an arrest in the City of London, half of forces had an arrest rate of around 10% or less with Humberside having a 1% arrest rate and Cambridgeshire 2%.
  • The rate at which people from minority ethnic backgrounds (BME) were searched compared to whites has decreased compared to the year 2013/2014: 16 searches every 1,000 of the population instead of 27 every 1,000. However, BME groups are still searched 2 times - and black people 4.2 times- the rate of whites.

Section 1 Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984

Section 1 gives police officers the power to search a person who they suspect to be involved in one or more of a wide range of crimes such as criminal damage, carrying a dangerous weapon, being involved in a burglary or drugs.

  • 40% reduction in use compared to the previous year (539,788 searches accounting for 99.8% of all searches).
  • 14% of all searches resulted in an arrest compared to 12% in the previous year.
  • 59% of all searches carried out under section 1 of PACE were for drugs. The number of drug-related searches fell by 34% compared to previous year, but the proportion of drug-related searches has increased by 7% and it has been rising since 2006/2007, while the proportion of searches for stolen property and offensive weapon has been decreasing.
  • The proportion of searches by self-defined ethnicity remained stable.

Section 60 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994

Section 60 is a power which does not require police officers to have any suspicion to believe that a person is involved in public disorder in order to search them. However, it does require prior authorisation by a senior officer in order for the power to be in effect.

  • 73% reduction in use nationally.
  • Only 3% of all section 60 searches resulted in an arrest representing a fall of 2% compared to previous year. This means that out of the 1,082 searches, only 32 people were arrested.
  • There was widespread variation between forces in their use of section 60, particularly high in Essex, Merseyside and Lancashire whilst most police forces conducted very few of these or none at all.
  • Overall in England and Wales, the proportion of searches of black people under section 60 decreased compared to last year (from 29% of the searches to 16% of the searches). However the same proportion increased for the MPS, with black people accounting for 55% of the searches in 2014/2015, rising from 46% last year. BME groups more widely accounted for 74% of the searches by MPS.

Section 47A Terrorism Act 2000

Section 47A is a counter-terrorism power which does not require police officers to have reasonable suspicion to believe that a person is involved in terrorism in order to search them.

  • Section 47A was not used in England and Wales during the 2014/15 financial year as has been the case from the year 2011/2012 onwards.

The full report and data tables can be found at the following link:

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