Skip to main content

Stop and Search – extent of racial bias confirmed at First Minister’s Questions

8 March 2022

Welsh Police

New stop and search data from Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre were revealed at today’s First Minister’s Questions in the Senedd.

The data for 2020/21 confirm high levels of racial disproportionality in the use of stop and search powers by the four police forces in Wales. In 2020/21, 8 out of every 1,000 White people living in Wales were stopped and searched. This compares to a rate of 56 per 1,000 Black people, 16 per 1,000 Asian people, and 28 per 1,000 people who identify as being from a Mixed ethnic background. The ethnicity categories are based on self-identification.

The gap in the stop and search rate between White and Black people was slightly wider in Wales (8 to 56) than it was in England (7 to 51) in 2020/21.

Dr Robert Jones obtained the data, which were revealed by Rhys ab Owen, Senedd Member for South Wales Central.

The findings reinforce previous research from Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre which evidenced high levels of racial disproportionality in imprisonment, arrest and custodial sentences, and which led to the Centre calling for a Senedd inquiry into racial discrimination in the criminal justice system.

Dr Jones commented:

“These latest data add to the evidence we have already uncovered about the fact that non-white people are more likely to come into contact with the criminal justice system in Wales. This includes evidence that individuals from non-White backgrounds are more likely to be stopped and searched by police, sentenced to imprisonment and receive longer prison terms, than white people in Wales.

“We have previously used our research to call for a Senedd committee inquiry into racial injustice in the Welsh criminal justice system, these latest data further underline the need for such an inquiry and for the Welsh Government to give far greater attention to racial discrimination and criminal justice in Wales.”

Share this story