BLACK people in Gwent are eight times more likely than white people to be stopped and searched by police, new figures reveal.

Home Office data shows officers in Gwent carried out 3,741 stop-and-searches in the year to March – up from 2,539 the year before.

Using population estimates for Gwent, the Home Office figures show 31.8 per 1,000 black people were stopped, compared to just 3.8 per 1,000 white people.

This means black people in Gwent were 8.3 times as likely to be subjected to a stop-and-search.

Similarly, 20.1 out of 1,000 people across all BAME (black, Asian, and minority-ethnic) groups in Gwent were stopped, making them five times as likely as white people to be stopped and searched.


These figures only apply to cases where the suspect's ethnicity was recorded, which was done in the majority (69 per cent) of instances in Gwent.

The power to stop and search is permitted under section one of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, allowing police to search people and vehicles for things like drugs or a weapon without a warrant.

A spokeswoman for Gwent Police said the force "robustly monitors and scrutinises the way officers stop and search people, so that we can be satisfied that officers are acting in accordance with the law and that the power is used effectively to prevent crime, catch criminals and maintain public trust".

Across Wales and England, data shows police stopped 54 per 1,000 black people in 2019/20 – compared to a rate of just six per 1,000 white people.

One race equality charity said the national figures showed stop-and-search powers caused "ongoing discrimination" of BAME people by the police in Wales and England.

"That black people are so disproportionately targeted under stop-and-search shows a broken system in desperate need of repair," Alba Kapoor, policy officer at the Runnymede Trust, said.

“We are clear that these powers are not fit for purpose, discriminatory and hugely damaging".

Commenting on the force's figures, a spokeswoman for Gwent Police said officers received training to ensure stop-and-search powers were used appropriately and reasonably.

The force's use of stop-and-search is reviewed by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Legitimacy Scrutiny Panel, which includes independent members, she said, adding that Gwent Police was currently recruiting for Community Cohesion Group members and an equivalent Youth Cohesion Group, who would also review the force's use of stop-and-search powers.

“Gwent Police is focused on using stop-and-search powers fairly and in a way that is effective in keeping the public safe," the force spokeswoman said. "Officers target the use of stop-and-search powers in areas experiencing a high level of criminal activity, or against persistent criminals or crime groups.

“We recognise the importance of stopping and searching the right people and ensuring that each encounter is carried out with respect and courtesy, and based on fully explained reasonable grounds in order to limit any negative experiences and prohibit any unlawful use of the legislation."

“Stop-and-search encounters in Gwent are recorded on body-worn video, meaning that if any are challenged the video record can be used to quickly establish exactly what happened and provide a speedy resolution. This provides greater transparency and allows officers to demonstrate that they have followed procedures correctly.”