Asians up to 42 times were more likely to be stopped
25 May, 2011: The Chief executive of the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) Nick Gargan, revealed that the opinion among ethnic minority communities that they were being singled out had stopped to be a threat and has become a reality in some areas.
His comments came, as new numbers depicted Asians were up to 42 times more likely to be stopped, under counter- terrorism powers than the white people.
Asian communities feel they are being pulled out by officers using anti-terror powers unreasonably against ethnic minorities, a police chief asserted.
More than 85,000 stops were carried out at the UK’s ports and airports in 2009 and 2010. The figures released after a freedom of information request by the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (Fosis) showed.
An analysis of the data by the Guardian showed that up to 42 times as many Asians were stopped as white people. In all, 2,201 of these lasted more than an hour and fewer than one in a hundred (0.57 per cent) resulted in a detention.
Of these, Asian people made up 41 per cent of stops, white people 19 per cent, black people 10 per cent and others (including Middle Eastern and Chinese) 30 per cent.
Questioned by MPs on the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee if Asian communities thought they were being pulled out, Nick Gargan said that there was a real danger. He added that certainly there was no shortage of proof that in some areas it had ceased to be a danger and had become a reality.
He added that it was a very difficult balancing act for colleagues, balancing the need to maintain the confidence of communities at the same time doing an efficient job in running and mitigating the threat of terror. Gargaasin further asserted: ‘But yes, I must acknowledge there is that danger.’
The powers, under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, allow officers to obstruct, question and keep in custody, people for up to nine hours without cause to suspect them of a crime.
Asians structure five per cent of the UK population; black people comprise five per cent of the UK population, black people three per cent and others one per cent. White people make up 91 per cent of the population.
Professor Ben Bowling, of Kings College said that these statistics provide weight to the conclusion that ethnic profiling is being used at Britain’s ports and airports.
He asserted that the power to hold back people at the border should be used in a way that is balanced, clear, fair and answerable.
Bowling elaborated that at present, it was unclear. It seems arbitrary at best and discriminatory at worst. A proper investigation into the use of these powers was long overdue. Labour peer Lord Ahmed supported the call for an independent review.
Ahmed said that ten years after it was first introduced, Schedule 7 was having an extremely harmful impact on community relations.
He added that this Government had failed to sufficiently examine and regulate Schedule 7 in the way that it has with other stop and search powers.