Proportionately more Black people were stopped and searched in Croydon than white people over the last ten months, according to official police data.

Statistics available on the Metropolitan Police's data website showed that the number of Black people who were targeted in Croydon by the controversial tactic was far higher per 1,000 people of their ethnicity than their white counterparts over the time period.

According to the most recent available data, which runs between May 2020 and March 2021, 61.6 Black people for every 1,000 were stopped and search in Croydon over the time period.

In addition, 65.7 people of every 1,000 from ‘Other’ ethnic minorities were also targeted.

Both figures were far higher than the proportion of white people (25.5 in every 1,000) who were stopped and searched over the time period.

The data reflected a wider trend in Stop and Search, previously documented in a number of reports and articles, that showed the policy disproportionately impacting Black people.

Indeed, a report by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) published in October 2020 found eleven ways the practice could be improved.


A summary of the IOPC findings said that "the legitimacy of stop and searches was being undermined by...a lack of understanding about the impact of disproportionality" and a "consistent use of force over seeking cooperation".


Consequently the use of Stop and Search has proved controversial not only in communities of colour impacted by it, but also by rights groups in the UK.

Among those groups who have been outspoken in criticising the ongoing use of Stop and Search are human and civil rights group Liberty.

"We should all be able to feel safe in our local neighbourhood and know we will be treated fairly – but racial disproportionality in stop and search is putting Black people at risk of harm and distress, as well as creating division and distrust," Emmanuelle Andrews, Liberty policy and campaigns officer, told the Croydon Guardian.

"The Government admits there is no proof that ramping up stop and search makes communities safer, and these statistics provide further evidence that it is just one of a number of police powers which should be shelved," he added.

Andrews meanwhile added that the growing opposition to current government proposals to drastically expand police powers via their proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill reflected the desire for a different approach.

"Despite this, and the clear demand for a different approach from those affected the Government is looking to expand stop and search through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, a move widely condemned by many communities, as demonstrated in the nationwide protests since its announcement," he said.

The Croydon Guardian approached the Metropolitan Police for comment on the data.

In response, a spokesperson offered the following statement:

"There is disparity in the use of stop and search in relation to gender, age and race. Sadly different crimes tend to affect different groups more than others and it remains a tragic truth that knife crime and street violence in London, disproportionately affects boys and young men, particularly of African-Caribbean heritage, both in terms of being victims and perpetrators. Equally, areas of London with higher crime levels, particularly violent crime, often tend to be home to more diverse communities, both resident and transient.

"The ‘positive outcome rate’, which is the proportion of stop and searches that identify criminality, currently stands at 23 per cent across main ethnic groups in Croydon and wider London. If it were the case that officers were targeting people because of their ethnic appearance for example, this would significantly lower the positive outcome rates for the ‘targeted’ group.

"We very deliberately are targeting and putting more resources into areas blighted by higher levels of violence and other serious crime. We use a range of tactics to tackle violence of which stop and search is just one element. Stop and search is effective at removing dangerous weapons, drugs and criminals from the streets. In March for example, 23 offensive weapons were taken off the streets as a result of stop and search in Croydon. We are working with our communities to learn from their lived experiences and greater understand the impact of stop and search.

"We welcome and accept the recommendations made by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) as part of The Metropolitan Police Service’s continual drive for improvement in stop and search, in order to provide our communities the confidence they require.

"We recognise that how the tactic is approached, trained and delivered, remains a significant area of concern for communities across the capital and we are committed to ensuring that every encounter is conducted professionally with respect and courtesy. We understand the impact that even a thoroughly professional encounter can have on an individual stopped and searched, and that this can resonate more widely with communities.

"We are pleased that work is already being undertaken both alongside and as a result of these recommendations which demonstrates the organisational commitment to maintaining and enhancing the confidence of those who live, work and visit our great city."