Find another area »

Merseyside Police

About this force

Area 249 square miles
Recording stop and account? Yes
Force website Visit website

About the PCC in this area

Police & Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy (Labour)
Email address pcc@merseysidepcc.info
PCC website Visit website

How many searches do police do?

April 2019 – March 2020

The police conducted 33,416 stop and searches under PACE Section 1 across the area covered by Merseyside Police.

This was an increase of 62% from the previous year.

There were 1,195 stop and searches under Section 60 Criminal Justice & Public Order Act, a power which doesn’t require individual reasonable suspicion.

This was an increase of 735% from the previous year.

April 2018 – March 2019

The police conducted 20,679 stop and searches under PACE Section 1 across the area covered by Merseyside Police.

This was an increase of 105% from the previous year.

There were 143 stop and searches under Section 60 Criminal Justice & Public Order Act, a power which doesn’t require individual reasonable suspicion.

This was a reduction of 4% from the previous year.

April 2017 – March 2018

The police conducted 10,105 stop and searches under PACE Section 1 across the area covered by Merseyside Police.

This was an increase of 29% from the previous year.

There were 149 stop and searches under Section 60 Criminal Justice & Public Order Act, a power which doesn’t require individual reasonable suspicion.

This was an increase of 9% from the previous year.

April 2016 – March 2017

The police conducted 7,861 stop and searches under PACE Section 1 across the area covered by Merseyside Police.

This was a reduction of 44% from the previous year.

There were 137 stop and searches under Section 60 Criminal Justice & Public Order Act, a power which doesn’t require individual reasonable suspicion.

This was an increase of 57% from the previous year.

Stop and account

Merseyside Police record stop and accounts.

Merseyside is one of only nine police forces in England and Wales that record stop and accounts.

In 2013/14, a total of 2,047 recorded stop and accounts where carried out across the force. Of these:

  • 1,868 were of whites
  • 34 were of blacks
  • 21 were of Asians
  • 22 were of people from mixed backgrounds
  • 56 were of Chinese people or those from other backgrounds

This means that black people were subject to an account at 1.6 times the rate of whites, Asians at 0.8 times that rate, mixed people at 0.7 times the rate of whites, and those from Chinese or Other backgrounds were encountered at 1.8 times the rate of whites.

What are searches targeted at?

Target Proportion of searches
Drugs79%
Offensive weapons7%
Going equipped7%
Other5%
Stolen property2%
Criminal damage1%
Firearms<1%

How effective are police stop and searches?

Historically, Merseyside has had one of the highest proportions of searches for drugs in the country rather than serious or violent crime. In 2019/20, a staggering 79% of all stops and searches were for drugs, similar to 2018/19 (77%), and 2017/18 (78%), and only five percentage points down on the year before that. In 2015/16, Merseyside police produced inadequate data on how stop and search was targeted and so we have been unable to understand how searches were directed during that interim year.

Merseyside forces also conduct a relatively large volume of searches under section 60, a power that does not require officers to believe that a person is carrying weapons or dangerous items in order to search them. Recorded searches leapt more than eightfold to almost 1,200 in 2019/20, up on 143 in 2018/19, 149 in 2017/18, and 137 in 2016/17. Only 20 ended in arrest, of which 16 uncovered weapons on the person.

April 2019 – March 2020

12% of stop and searches conducted under PACE Section 1 lead to an arrest.

2% of stop and searches conducted under Section 60 Criminal Justice & Public Order Act lead to an arrest.

April 2018 – March 2019

16% of stop and searches conducted under PACE Section 1 lead to an arrest.

4% of stop and searches conducted under Section 60 Criminal Justice & Public Order Act lead to an arrest.

April 2017 – March 2018

15% of stop and searches conducted under PACE Section 1 lead to an arrest.

1% of stop and searches conducted under Section 60 Criminal Justice & Public Order Act lead to an arrest.

April 2016 – March 2017

8% of stop and searches conducted under PACE Section 1 lead to an arrest.

4% of stop and searches conducted under Section 60 Criminal Justice & Public Order Act lead to an arrest.

Who is getting searched?

In 2019/20:

    •    Black people in Merseyside were searched at just over three times the rate of White people
    •    People from Mixed backgrounds were searched at roughly the same rate as White people
    •    Asians were searched at roughly the same rate as Whites
    •    Chinese or other ethnicities were searched at roughly half the rate

PACE disproportionality ratios

Ethnic groups Ratio
White : Black 1 : 3.2
White : Asian 1 : 1.1
White : Mixed 1 : 1.1
White : Other 1 : 0.4