The disproportionate number of young black males being stopped by UK police under its stop and search power is not due to officers being racist, a former senior detective said on Monday.
Instead, he said, they are being stopped in higher numbers than other ethnicities because they are more frequently involved in street robberies, “county lines” drug dealing, gang violence, and knife crime, including murder, where the victims are themselves usually black people.
“It’s a sad fact, unfortunately, that young black men are involved in gang-related activity—so if we look at the gang matrix in London, 89 percent of people on that matrix are black and ethnic minorities,” ex-detective chief inspector of the Metropolitan Police Mike Neville told The Epoch Times.
“The police can’t help that—the police can try and be fair, but if a certain group or race or religion … commits a certain type of crime, then they [the police] have got to deal with it,” he said.
The HMICFRS report states that ethnic minorities were over four times more likely to be stopped under stop and search than white people, rising to almost nine times more likely in the case of black people.
It called for the police to explain why.
Ignoring Crime StatisticsNeville, however, criticized the review, saying it ignores the crime statistics that may explain the disproportionality.
He said the factors underlying this ethnic disparity in offending, including housing and education, are largely beyond the control of the police who “simply have to deal with the murder” in front of them, regardless of the race of victim or perpetrator.
“We can’t keep putting our head in the sand about this,” he said.
He called for a fairer, more realistic examination of how the police stop and search power is being used.
“Let’s see both sides of the argument, let’s be fair,” he said. “Yes, if people are being stopped and searched unfairly, that’s not right, but let’s look at the crime patterns.”
Political PosturingNeville criticized past posturing over stop and search by politicians from both sides of the political spectrum.
“It’s a scandal really that people virtue signal—try and score political points,” he said.
“And we see the results—literally that is more dead young black men. It’s awful, it's a waste of life, and it's shameful.”
“What do people prefer, particularly young black men?” he asked.
“Do they prefer the police’s hands occasionally in their pockets or do they prefer a knife in their belly?”
Amanda Pearson, stop and search lead and deputy assistant commissioner of the National Police Chiefs' Council, told The Epoch Times in a statement that "stop and search is a valuable policing tool.”
She said the power had enabled the removal of weapons from the streets as well as the disruption of drug markets.
It has also helped “identify young people in need of safeguarding and diversion away from crime,” she said.
“We hold the power of stop and search on behalf of the public, so it is vital our communities have confidence in the way it is used and that officers have the confidence to use it effectively and appropriately.”
The HMICFRS did not respond to a request for comment.