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STOP AND SEARCH IN ENGLAND: A Reformed Tactic or Business as Usual?

Joel Miller
The British Journal of Criminology
Vol. 50, No. 5 (SEPTEMBER 2010), pp. 954-974
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43610810
Page Count: 21
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STOP AND SEARCH IN ENGLAND: A Reformed Tactic or Business as Usual?
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Abstract

In 1999, the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry heavily criticized ethnic disparities in stop and search ('disproportionality'), triggering a national reform effort to make the tactic fairer and more effective. Analyses of searches under core powers using up to 12 years of annual data from 38 police force areas in England indicate that aggregate disparìties showed no improvement following the reforms. However, this overall finding is heavily influenced by London and, to a lesser extent, Greater Manchester and West Midlands, which are out of step with most of the rest of the country. The average force showed reductions in disproportionality associated with the reforms, although did not see improvements in arrest rates of searches. Theoretical implications of the results are discussed.

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