A new report by the Children’s Commissioner for England has revealed that black children in England and Wales are 6 times more likely to be strip searched by police between 2018 and 2020.
A staggering 2847 children were targeted for strip searches in England and Wales and in one case as young as eight years old.
The report found that out of all strip searches 95% of them were carried out on boys of which black boys accounted for more than 1/3 even though black children make up less than 6% of the school population.
Children’s Commissioner, Rachel De Souza explained examples of strip searches taking place outside fast food outlets and outside of theme parks without appropriate adults or parents present.
Shockingly, under half of all these searches resulted in no kind of further action. Clearly the rules have been broken with overzealous stop and search powers. Children are not being seen as children.
It’s never just the hassle of being stopped and searched – it’s the emotional weight afterwards…It really is draining.
Race Alliance Wales. 2022. “WHAT’S GOING ON?” Experiences of young racialised people of Policing in Wales. Available at: https://bit.ly/40HWbm0
Black people in South Wales were searched at almost seven times the rate of White people, with people from Mixed backgrounds searched at just over twice the rate of White people, Asians were searched at almost two and a half times the rate of White people (Stop Watch, 2020).
In September 2022, Race Alliance Wales published a report on policing in Wales, “WHAT’S GOING ON?” Experiences of young racialised people of Policing in Wales which was approached collaboratively and passionately by a team of primary researchers.
Young people’s testimonies were collected along with their experiences of stop and search and the impact that has had on them. From that we concluded the following recommendations:
1. Commit to a Wales-wide inquiry into the efficacy and impact of Stop and Search. This should be the first step towards ending stop and search
as an over-used and under-effective police practice. Reform Stop and Search practices, including:
• better defining what constitutes “reasonable grounds for suspicion”
and when restraint or use of handcuffs are appropriate.
• provide training to new police on Stop and Search to include the
impact of its disproportionate use on racialised young people.
• Improve recording of stop and search, ensuring that all records include full demographic data, and a question on use of force.
• Ensure that current Stop and Search practices are carried out with
humanity, with minimal embarrassment to young people, and that all
police officers provide receipts to young people, and inform them of
their rights to complain, and how to do so.
• Simplify options to file complaints, including through third-party
• Regularly publish facts and figures, and other information on stop and search, so that the public can monitor use of stop and search powers,
identify concerning trends, and patterns. Overhaul Police Forces’ equality, diversity, and inclusion training ensuring it is quality assessed and evaluated, and is planned and delivered with and by racialised communities.
2. Overhaul Police Forces’ equality, diversity, and inclusion training
ensuring it is quality assessed and evaluated, and is planned and
delivered with and by racialised communities.
3. Take more radical steps to achieve a more representative workforce
at all levels, including positive action