Ministers was accused of sitting on the latest release of stop-and-search data showing record levels whilst controversial legislation passes through parliament.
The Observer yesterday reported that the Home Office failed to release its annual stats over concerns that the figures would add to the evidence of disproportionate targeting of black people as both its policing bill and border bills pass through parliament – as reported on Friday on the Justice Gap Pretty Patel is already being sued over her decision to ditch safeguards designed to limit discrimination in police use of stop and search powers.
According to this weekend’s report, the department is also refusing to publish the results of its own consultation into the Nationality and Borders Bill which was described by Freedom From Torture as ‘the biggest legal assault on international refugee law ever seen in the UK’.
The latest stats should have been published last month. ‘The Home Office has failed to do so, saying that the three-week delay is because of a “record level” of data, and extra time being required to “resolve data quality issues”,’ reported the Observer.
‘The reason given for delaying the annual stop-and-search dataset implies that a record number of street searches took place in 2020/21,’ Habib Kadiri, research and policy manager at StopWatch said: ‘This holds a special irony when you consider that crime levels fell during this period primarily because of lockdown rules that mandated the nation to stay indoors. The government seems committed to helping the police avoid scrutiny over the effectiveness of their actions while increasing their stop-and-search powers.’