Metropolitan Police releases 'alarming' strip-search figures

 

People from black and minority ethnic backgrounds account for more than half of those strip-searched by the Metropolitan Police in the past three years, according to “extremely alarming” figures collected by the force.

Between January 2010 and August 2013, of the 94,448 people who were searched by the Met after being arrested, 52.5 per cent were from  Afro-Caribbean, Asian and other minority groups.

The numbers, released after Freedom of Information requests, will add to concerns about race relations in the wake of the controversy over the Mark Duggan inquest earlier this week. Many in London’s black community were angry at the ruling that Mr Duggan was lawfully killed by a police marksman in 2011.

They figures will also add to the complaints that black youths are disproportionately targeted under stop-and-search powers.

By law, strip-searches cannot be used as routine and must be approved by an inspector. They can only be carried out on people under arrest, in cells either at a police station or in a detention centre. There must be reasonable grounds to believe the subject has concealed a Class A drug to supply to others, or an object which they could use to cause physical injury. People can be asked to spread their legs or bend over when being searched.

However, the figures also showed that  more than 25 per cent all those strip-searched were released with no further action being taken – prompting complaints that the power is being used too frequently.

The Labour MP for Tooting, Sadiq Khan, who is shadow minister for London, said that many people would find the numbers “completely unacceptable”.  “These figures are extremely alarming, especially coming in the same week as the Duggan inquest,” he said.

“If a section of Londoners thinks that the police are discriminating against them, then their willingness to cooperate... will be less.”

The actor Daniel Kaluuya is currently suing the Met, alleging that he was pinned down and later strip-searched after being mistaken for a suspected drug dealer in 2010.

Jocelyn Cockburn, a human rights lawyer representing Mr Kaluuya, said the figures showed “a connection between the race of the detainee and the likelihood of them being strip-searched”.

“It is a matter of public record that police powers of stop-and-search are susceptible to racial stereotyping,” she said.

“Young black men are significantly more likely to be suspected of drug offences and therefore it follows that they are subject to higher rates of strip-searches.”

A spokesman for the Met said: “Strip-searching is a vital power in police custody, not only to identify and seize evidence but also to ensure the safety and security of all detainees and staff.”

He added: “Recent inspections have reported that strip-searches that were examined were considered to be justified and proportionate.”

The force added that of the complaints about the searches in the relevant period, 25 per cent came from ethnic minorities, compared to 28 per cent from white people.

News
Alan Bennett has criticised the “repellent” reality shows which dominate our screens
tvBut he does like Stewart Lee
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
i100
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits