Stop and search four times more likely to be used on Black people than white people, Manchester data shows

Bosses in Greater Manchester have welcomed promises by national police chiefs to improve levels of trust between officers and Black communities.

Black people in Greater Manchester are four times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people, data has shown.

Figures analysed by our sister title NationalWorld showed Greater Manchester Police (GMP) carried out more than 800 stop and searches on Black or Black British people per 100,000 residents in the year up to March 2021, compared to more than 200 white people per 100,000.

The data has been revealed as the Police Race Action Plan has been released and national chiefs have pledged to improve levels of trust with Black communities.

The document has been welcomed in Greater Manchester, where the force boss recognised there is still work to do both in the way officers police minoritised communities and making the ranks more diverse.

What does the stop and search data show for Greater Manchester?

NationalWorld looked at the use of stop and search powers by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) in the year up to 2020.

GMP officers used these powers at a rate of 832 per 100,000 residents on Black or Black British people in that time period.

That compares to rates of 438 per 100,000 for Asian people, 563 per 100,000 for people of mixed race and 232 per 100,000 for white people.

It means that Black people were four times as likely to be stopped and searched as white people in the year up to March 2021.

Increased stop and search powers are set to “worsen divisions” between Londoners and the police, human rights activists have warned. Photo: Getty

In total, GMP carried out 922 stop and searches on Black people in the 12-month period and 5,234 on white people.

However, Office for National Statistics (ONS) ethnicity data from 2016 showed that at that point there were 111,000 Black people living in Greater Manchester compared to more than 2.1 million white people.

Campaigners have recently expressed concerns over stop and search after home secretary Priti Patel announced a lifting of restrictions on the controversial Section 60 powers in England and Wales which means officers do not have to have suspicion or reasonable grounds of wrongdoing.

However, the NationalWorld data found no use of Section 60 powers in Greater Manchester in the year up to March 2021.

What does the Police Race Action Plan say?

The data on ethnic disparities in the use of stop and search powers comes as the Police Race Action Plan is unveiled.

Publishing the document, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the College of Policing said it is committed to making forces more anti-racist and to explaining or reforming race disparities in law enforcement.

The plan aims to address the significantly lower levels of trust and confidence in the police among many Black people and the disparities affecting Black communities.

The plan will now be subject to further consultation before the final version is published in December 2022.

What has GMP said?

The Police Race Action Plan has been welcomed in Greater Manchester, where police chiefs say work is being done but acknowledge there is more still to do.

Chief Constable Stephen Watson said: “Policing in the UK is built on a foundation of trust and confidence allowing us to police our communities by consent.

“Our service must be, and must be seen to be, fair, free from discrimination and delivered with the highest level of professional standards.

“It is therefore important that GMP commit to delivering the Police Race Action Plan so that we can continue to improve how we protect Black communities.

GMP Chief Constable Stephen Watson

“We have taken many positive steps to reduce bias and the vast majority of our staff carry out their duties in a fair and non-discriminatory way.

“However, we know we have some way to go to ensure that our diverse communities - particularly those from Black communities - feel that we deliver services fairly and equitably.

“We also know that we have more to do to ensure our workforce is representative of the communities we protect so that we can ensure we truly represent and understand the rich diversity of each our districts and the individual challenges they face.

“GMP will be making sure that the actions recommended by the plan are fully considered and implemented so that we can become an organisation that everyone can have trust and confidence in - irrespective of background, race or belief.”