New data has found that Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) drivers are the majority of those stopped for ‘drug driving’ in the capital – but most haven’t committed any crime.
Police are more likely to stop people of BAME demographics to search their vehicles than white drivers according to data released after sprinter Bianca Williams and her partner Ricardo dos Santos spoke out about being pulled from their car in front of their three-month-old son.
Only 37% of people living in London are classified as BAME, yet they make up the majority of stop and search suspects – a disparity made clear by those speaking out against racial profiling and institutional police racism in recent weeks.
Of those stopped in London in April and May, 72% of BAME drivers were released with no further action, compared to 67% per cent of white drivers pulled over by police.
Accusing the Met Police of ‘racial profiling’, Commonwealth Games gold medalist Williams said that she and her partner were treated like ‘scum’ as they were pulled from their car by officers in west London while their child was in the back seat.
They were separated from each other before being handcuffed, and ultimately let go without further action.
Following the distressing encounter, the athlete said: ‘It’s always the same thing with Ricardo.
‘They think he’s driving a stolen vehicle, or he’s been smoking cannabis.
‘It’s racial profiling. The way they spoke to Ricardo, like he was scum, dirt on their shoe, was shocking. It was awful to watch.’Russian hackers 'try to steal vaccine research' in cyber attack on labs
Met Police chief Dame Cressida Dick later apologised to Ms Williams, and the organisation has voluntarily referred itself to watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
In response to the new data, a Met Police spokesperson admitted there was ‘disparity’ in the use of stop and search relating to race, gender and age.
They said: ‘Sadly different crimes tend to affect different groups more than others and it remains a tragic truth that knife crime and street violence in London disproportionately affects boys and young men, particularly of African-Caribbean heritage, both in terms of being victims and perpetrators.
‘Equally, areas of London with higher crime levels, particularly violent crime, often tend to be home to more diverse communities, both resident and transient.
‘We very deliberately put more resources in areas blighted by higher levels of violence and other serious crime and we need to use tactics like stop and search, as we know it is successful in removing dangerous weapons, drugs and criminals from the streets.’
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