Stop & search: 3/4 of young black & minority Brits feel targeted by police
According to a survey commissioned by the Criminal Justice Alliance (CJA), nearly 1.5 million young members of black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities across Britain think they are disproportionately stopped and searched by police.
The findings come after a 25-year-old black man allegedly died from injuries sustained following a police stop in east London last week. His death sparked a night of violent protests last Sunday condemning police brutality. Six officers were injured.
CJA, a coalition of 120 organizations, also found that of BAME people aged 16 to 30, one-third think police use unfair information when holding people for questioning. A further two-fifths think police officers abuse their stop and search powers.
While the use of stop and search has been in decline, falling from 1.2 million to 380,000 in just over five years, BAME people are still three times more likely than white people to be searched, according to Home Office figures.
Black people in particular seem to be singled out by police more often. Their likelihood of being stopped is now six times higher than their white counterparts.
“The discrepancy in the rate at which black people are being stopped on our streets, and the way that some stops are conducted, is clearly toxic to good community relations,” said CJA director Ben Summerskill.
“Too many young people we’ve spoken to feel a visceral hostility towards police as a consequence. When two-thirds of stops lead to no further action being taken at all by most forces, it’s understandable that huge resentment is caused.”
Nearly half a million BAME youngsters said the use of stop and search makes them “less proud” to be British.
However, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has defended the tactic, saying it is “hugely powerful” in the fight against knife crime.
“If police carrying out stop and search can help to stop [knife crime] then the vast majority of people will be very supportive,” Dick said, speaking to families in south London back in May.
A black man died last week after being stopped and searched by Metropolitan Police officers in east London.
Edir Frederico Da Costa, also known as Edson, was detained by police after the car he was travelling in with two friends was stopped in Beckton on June 15. He died in the hospital six days later.
Da Costa was allegedly “brutally beaten” by officers during his arrest and left in a coma with a fractured skull, ruptured bladder, and other injuries. Officers were also said to have used CS spray on the young father.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said this week that the cause of death had not yet been established, but that the man had ingested “a number of packages” before dying.
Da Costa’s neighborhood of Forest Gate was in an uproar after his death, with bricks thrown at police and bins set alight.