Bishop of Rochester raises disproportionate use of stop and search against black people

On 13th June 2016 Baroness Meacher asked Her Majesty’s Government “whether they have any plans to review their drug policies in the light of the United Nations statements at the UN General Assembly Special Session on 19-21 April.” The Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, asked a follow up question:

RochesterThe Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I note the Minister’s disinclination to institute a review. None the less, I wonder whether he could assure the House that in some context or other, attention is being given to such matters as the information in a report by the charity Release published in 2013, which shows that black people were stopped and searched for drugs at more than six times the rate of white people, despite successive crime surveys showing that drug use in black communities is at a lower rate than in white communities?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The right reverend Prelate is right to raise this concern. Issues of stop and search have been prioritised; I recall that my right honourable friend the Home Secretary has specifically focused on this area. I believe that, although in 2009-10 stop and search was about seven times as likely for someone of black ethnicity, that has fallen to four times more likely—but that is still four times more likely than anyone else.