UK: Policing the pandemic: figures show ongoing racial discrimination


A series of reports in The Guardian show how the policing of the pandemic has further exacerbated racial inequalities in law enforcement.

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Police in England and Wales 'twice as likely' to fine young BAME men during lockdown (27 July, link):

"Police were twice as likely to fine young black and Asian men under the lockdown rules than their white counterparts, according to new figures that underline concerns about racial bias in policing.

Analysis of fixed-penalty notices issued under the coronavirus regulations by National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) found that black, Asian and minority ethnic people (BAME) were 1.6 times more likely to be fined than white people.

But for young black and Asian men the difference was even more pronounced. Young men aged between 18 and 34 from BAME groups were over-represented by around twice the rate of young white men, the study found.

The NPCC found 17,039 fines were issued between 27 March and 25 May, which represents only three fines per 10,000 people. But the rate for black people was 4.6 per 10,000 and for Asian people it was 4.7."

This analysis follows the earlier revelation that London's Metropolitan Police stopped and searched the equivalent of 30% of the city's young black male population between March and May this year.

See: Met carried out 22,000 searches on young black men during lockdown (8 July, link):

"Young black men were stopped and searched by police more than 20,000 times in London during the coronavirus lockdown – the equivalent more than a quarter of all black 15- to 24-year-olds in the capital.

More than 80% of the 21,950 searches between March and May resulted in no further action, according to analysis by the office of the home affairs select committee chair, Yvette Cooper.

The figures equate to 30% of all young black males in London, though some individuals may have been searched more than once.

The Met increased its use of stop and search during the lockdown, compared with a year ago. The force carried out 43,000 stops in May, compared to 21,000 a year earlier, and 30,608 in April, up from 20,981."

The Guardian also revealed today that the use of section 60 stops and searches also increased massively during the lockdown. This power - which stems from section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act - allows an officer to stop and search an individual with no suspicion.

See: Met police increased use of section 60 stop and search during lockdown (27 July, link)

"The UK’s largest police force increased the use of what critics say is the most discriminatory form of stop and search during lockdown, despite a fall in crime during this period.

In May 2020, the Metropolitan police stopped and searched 1,418 people under section 60, more than double the number stopped in May 2019, data shows.


Police in London issued 65 such authorisations in May 2020, a sharp rise from 13 times in April and higher than equivalent months in recent years, according to data collected by the human rights group Liberty through freedom of information requests.

It comes despite figures from the National Police Chiefs Council showing that before the Met increased stop and search during lockdown, crime levels had fallen."

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