BAME Communities: Stop and Search — [Albert Owen in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:44 am on 23rd May 2018.

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Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley 9:44 am, 23rd May 2018

My right hon. Friend makes a good point; it is difficult to disaggregate drugs from some of the violence we see. The two often go hand in hand, and he puts that point particularly well.

I do not have time today to go into as much detail as I would like on this subject. I know that one of the reasons for stop-and-search relates to drugs. The 2016 statistics on race in the criminal justice system show that 34% of black offenders, and only 15% of white offenders, were convicted of drug offences, making that the largest offence group for black offenders. It seems to me perfectly obvious that black people are therefore more likely to be stopped and searched for drugs than white people, because more people are convicted of those crimes. That seems to me to be partly obvious. Drug offences were also the largest offence group for the Asian ethnic group, accounting for 28% of its offenders.

One of the other purposes of stop-and-search is to check for weapons. According to the Ministry of Justice’s figures, black suspects had the highest proportion of stop-and-searches for offensive weapons, at 20%. As far as I am concerned, it is irrelevant how many people from each background are being stopped and searched. What is relevant is how many of those who are stopped and searched are guilty of those crimes.

If those from certain communities were being stopped and searched and were consistently found to have done nothing wrong, I would be the first to say, “This is completely unacceptable.” In fact, that was one of the reasons why I started to do my own research on this subject, because I was constantly being told that people from ethnic minorities were much more likely to be stopped and searched but to have done nothing wrong, and therefore they were simply being stopped and searched because of the colour of their skin. If that were the case, it would be unacceptable, but that is absolutely not the case.

I asked a parliamentary question about this in 2016. I was told that the following were the percentages of searches that resulted in an arrest. For white people who were stopped and searched, 13% were arrested as a result. For black people it was 20%, for Asian people 14% and for mixed race people 17%. The evidence shows that the community that is much more likely to be stopped and searched and yet found to have done nothing wrong is white people. Those are the facts. They might be inconvenient facts for people who have a particular agenda, but they are nevertheless the facts.