Disproportionate use of police powers – A spotlight on stop and search and the use of force

Published on: 26 February 2021


Over 35 years on from the introduction of stop and search legislation, we have found that no force fully understands the impact of the use of these powers.

When the police use their powers disproportionately – in differing proportions on different ethnic groups – it causes suspicion among some communities that they are being unfairly targeted.

This can undermine police legitimacy, which is a fundamental aspect of the British model of policing by consent.

For some, particularly people from ethnic minority backgrounds, disproportionality can reinforce the perception that there is a culture of discrimination within the police. And, now that we have some long-awaited data on the police use of force, similar concerns are arising about this area of practice.

This report sets out our findings.

Get the report

Disproportionate-use-of-police-powers-spotlight-on-stop-search-and-use-of-force (PDF document)

Get the press release

Police must show stop & search and use of force is fair or risk losing public trust

More about stop and search

More HMICFRS inspections covering stop and search

Get the police and crime commissioners' responses to the report

Devon and Cornwall PCC’s response

Durham PCC’s response

Dyfed-Powys PCC’s response

Gwent PCC’s response (PDF document)

Nottinghamshire PCC’s response (PDF document)

Suffolk PCC’s response

Surrey PCC’s response

West Yorkshire PCC’s response

Find out why we publish PCC responses.

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