Police forces cease recording race of people that they stop
originally by: The Guardian
published: 22nd September 2011
Police forces with some of the worst records of targeting black people have decided to stop recording the ethnicity of the people their officers stop and ask to account for their movements, the Guardian has learned.
Five out of the 10 forces most likely to use stop-and-account powers disproportionately against black people – West Midlands, Avon and Somerset, Thames Valley, Sussex and Hertfordshire – have halted recording the race of people they have stopped. They have used a government change in the rules introduced in March, which was aimed at cutting bureaucracy.
In total, 21 out of 43 forces in England and Wales will stop recording details, according to responses to requests under the Freedom of Information Act.
A high court challenge is being brought over the decision.
The collection of data about the race of people stopped is one of the key legacies of the 1999 Stephen Lawrence inquiry into police racism. The figures have shown that black people are more likely to be subject to the powers, and those figures have been used to pressure the police into cleaning up discrimination in the ranks.
New totals show that the worst offender is the West Midlands force, which is seven times more likely to stop an African-Caribbean person than a white person. The force, Britain’s second biggest, is one of those that has decided to stop recording the ethnicity of people subjected to stop and account by its officers.
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