This report demonstrates that the policing and prosecutions of drug possession offences in England and Wales is unduly focussed on black and minority communities. This report looks at racial disparity rates at stop and search, arrest, prosecution and sentencing and clearly demonstrates that the drug laws in the UK are a major driver of the disproportionality that exists in our criminal justice system in relation to the black community.

Stop and search has increased steadily since 2001/2 from less than 750,000 to a peak of almost 1.3 million in 2010/11, more than 1.2 million of which were carried out under PACE and associated legislation. Despite a slight decline, there were still more than one million stop searches carried out in 2011/12. Half or more of these searches are for drugs. This means that every 58 seconds someone in England and Wales is stopped and searched by the police for drugs.

In 2009/10 the overall search rate for drugs across the population as a whole was 10 searches per 1000 people. For those from the white population it was 7 per 1000, increasing to 14 per 1000 for those identifying as mixed race, 18 per 1000 for those identifying as Asian and to 45 per 1000 for those identifying as black.

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