Public Influence on the Ethnic Disparity in Stop-and-Search Statistics in Four London Boroughs

Marina Hasan, Aaron Dippie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The literature on police stop-and-search events over the last two decades has heavily criticised the police for being racially disproportionate towards young black men compared to their white counterparts, resulting in the police being labelled as institutionally racist. However, none of the literature considers the fact that the public reporting of incidents may have had a major and direct influence on police stop-and-search outcomes. This significant issue remains a hidden and under-researched area, even though the disproportionality of police stop-and-search incidents is the leading cause of the negative relationship between the police and black and minority ethnic groups. This study addresses this gap by examining public bias in reporting incidents that result in police stopping and searching an individual. This study addresses this gap by examining public bias in reporting incidents that result in police stopping and searching an individual. A mixed method approach has been taken and primary data has been collected through freedom of information requests from the four borough command units (BCU) of the Metropolitan Police with densely populated areas with Black and Asian minority groups to investigate the link between public calls or reports of incidents and the initiation of police stop-and-search events. This data has been measured against national stop and search statistics in line with demographic data gathered from National Census data for the areas. The research concludes that there is discrimination against black and minority ethnic groups in members of the public reporting concerns. Freedom of information request for quantitative data from the Metropolitan Police reveals that public calls for reported incidents are on average 8.4 times more likely to describe the perpetrator as black European rather than white and 23.9 times more likely in the Central East borough when describing Asian ethnicity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Sciences
Volume13
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2024

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