- 895,975 searches were carried out in 2013/14 which represents a 12% reduction in total use of stop and search when compared to the previous financial year 2012/13. This is the first time that the use of stop and search was used less than one million times since 2005/06.
- 52% of all searches were for drugs instead of violent or serious crime, particularly within forces located in the South East, South West and West Midlands regions.
Section 1 Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984
Section 1 is a power which requires police officers to have reasonable suspicion to believe that a person is involved in one or more of a wide range of crimes or law-breaking in order to search them; this includes criminal damage, carrying a firearm or dangerous weapon, or being involved in a burglary.
- 11% reduction in use compared to the previous year.
- 12% of all searches resulted an arrest compared to 10% in the previous year.
- 18 searches were carried out for every 1,000 of the population in England and Wales during 2013/14 compared to 19 for every 1,000 person in the previous year.
- Nationally, the rate at which people from minority ethnic backgrounds were searched compared to whites- also known as the 'racial disproportionality ratio'- decreased marginally. Black people were searched at five times the rate of whites whilst people from Asian or Mixed backgrounds were searched at twice the rate of whites. There was, however, huge variation in disproportionality across English and Welsh forces including the British Transport Police.
NOTE: Due to Home Office reporting standards, these figures also include data for Section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000, a with suspicion counter-terrorism search power, as well as other powers requiring reasonable suspicion.
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.
- 26% reduction in use nationally although there was large variation between forces in the extent to which they used the power in 2013/14 and in the previous year.
- Only 5% of all section 60 searches resulted in an arrest – no change in comparison to the previous year.
- Nationally, the disproportionality under this power has decreased. Black people are searched at seventeen times the rate of whites, people from mixed ethnicities are searched at five times the rate of whites and Asians are searched at just under three times the rate of whites. There was widespread variation between forces in their use of section 60 and most police forces conducted very few of these or none at all and, therefore, the section 60 disproportionality ratio should be interpreted with this in mind.
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.
- As with previous years, section 47A was not used in England and Wales during the 2013/14 financial year.
The full report and data tables used to arrive at the calculations, above, can be found at the following link which also includes data on arrests, road checks and intimate searches: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/police-powers-and-procedures-england-and-wales-year-ending-31-march-2014