Stop and search: just two anti-terror arrests

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The Independent Online

Only two people were arrested for terrorism-related offences after being stopped and searched under anti-terrorism powers in 2009-10, Home Office figures disclosed yesterday.

The figures also show that almost one in three people stopped and searched by police were from ethnic minorities, and only a fraction of them were arrested as a result.

More than 1.36 million stop and searches were carried out in England and Wales, nearly 92,000 of which were under anti-terrorism legislation.

The total was down by 10 per cent on the previous year, but the figures showed a sharp rise in the proportion of blacks and Asians stopped on the streets compared with 2008-09.

Sixteen per cent of those stopped were black, 11 per cent were Asian, 3 per cent of mixed race and 1 per cent Chinese or other ethnic minority – a total of 31 per cent. The previous year the proportion of ethnic minorities stopped by police was 28 per cent. Half of all stops and searches by the Metropolitan Police were carried out on ethnic minority suspects.

Fifty-five per cent of all Section 60 searches – where officers fearing violence search for knives and other weapons – involved ethnic minorities.

Having been searched, however, white suspects were more likely than blacks or Asians to be arrested.

After the European Court of Human Rights ruled that terrorism stop-and-search powers were unlawful, the Government was forced to restrict the way they could be conducted.