The commissioner of the UK Metropolitan Police has defended the use of stop and search powers, despite the fact that they are disproportionately used on black people.
Cressida Dick said: ‘In the past couple of years we have considerably reduced the number of stabbings of young — I’m afraid I have to say black — boys in the streets of London.
But the figures are still truly shocking. A young black lad is nine times more likely to be killed than a young white lad. I hate that.’
She told the The Sunday Times magazine that nobody was stopped because of the colour of their skin.
Instead, she said: ‘We are targeting young people who are likely to be carrying knives and guns and drugs, we’re in among the drug markets and what it means is, overall, a higher proportion of young black lads being stopped than white lads.’
She told the paper that between 23% and 25% of searches resulted in officers finding something, no matter what the ethnicity of the person being searched.
However, a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission said that disproportionate use of stop and search powers on communities of colour harmed trust in the police.
‘The experience of being unfairly targeted for stop and search undermines the legitimacy of policing which, in turn, has material effects on the willingness of victims of crime and witnesses to pass information to the police and voluntary compliance with the law. ‘No democratic policing practice can survive without legitimacy and consent. ‘In the most extreme cases, the inappropriate use of stop and search carries the risk of creating confrontations between police and public that can trigger disorder.’