The problem of ethnic minorities’ discrimination in matters of policing is especially urgent, especially in the USA and European countries. The use of the stop and search method to fight against drug and weapons trafficking is particularly strongly discriminatory against ethnic minorities. Minor ethnic groups are disproportionately pursued, even though it is unlawful to stop and search someone on the grounds of race or ethnicity. This research aims to identify the reasons for police violence against ethnic backgrounds and outline possible ways to solve this problem. The research subject stops and searches politics, as it is the most representative in matters of racial discrimination.
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Stop and search (or stop and frisk) is the right given to the police to search someone if they have good reason to believe they may carry drugs, weapons, or stolen property or if someone is being searched. This practice can be carried out when a person walks down the street or drives a car, at the checkpoint, at the airport, train, or bus; or at the customs. To describe in general terms, it is a narrow form of a broader policy to interrogate and search people (Partington, 2019, p. 16). If airport inspections seem logical, stopping people on the street and searching for them can violate their privacy. However, everyone has the right to protect personal liberty and privacy, and the government must respect and ensure this right; the stop and search method often violates the fundamental rights of citizens.
The statistics of the stop and search method application indicate its widespread use. From the 54,016 respondents asked, 0.5% had been both stopped and searched in the last year. (Hargreaves, 2018, p. 1286). International human rights law also provides that measures taken in deviation from these norms should be carried out without discrimination based on race, skin color, gender, language, religion, political or other beliefs, national or social origin, property class, or other provision. Obviously, the principle of equality is an essential component of an effective fight against terrorism, smuggling, and theft. However, 27% of 8,783 people were unlawfully stopped and searched. (McInerney, 2020, p. 100). As well as being generally more likely to be victimized people of minority ethnic groups are also the targets of racist violence. 54 000 incidents were mentioned between 2014 and 2015 (Phillips, Bowling, 2017, p. 194). Thus, ethnic minorities constantly come under scrutiny and do not always legitimate attention of the police.
The stop and search method has many drawbacks: people distrust the police system in general and the randomness of the choice of who to search, but the main disadvantage is racial prejudice. Racial bias affects black people in every age group still black youth are more likely to be targeted since race-based stereotypes attribute a greater propensity for antisocial behavior (Sherman, Kumar, 2021, p. 2). The attitude towards racial minorities is highly stereotyped, especially concerning the fight against drug trafficking. By tracing these police techniques down to the officer level, suspected citizens document the extreme rarity of drug-related arrests and uncover persistent and unsettling differences in attitudes toward ethnic minorities. (Baumgartner, Epp and Shoub2018, p.17). The system demonstrates its ineffectiveness: real criminals remain uncaught as the police are distracted by racial prejudice.
The dismal statistics of police bias due to race put all the citizens at risk. The constant abuse by the police for the random stop and search policy has led to people’s mistrust of the police. (Bradford, 2017, p. 21). People do not feel safe on the streets – and constantly fear unlawful detentions and searches. If the stop and search method is logical in the airport and train station conditions, it seems inappropriate on the streets. Especially if you know that the basis for choosing a person for a search is not inappropriate behavior but his or her race. Thus, stop-and-search politics as they exist is ineffective and dangerous because it supports racial stereotypes.
The most depressing thing about racial discrimination in the police system is that the situation has not changed over the years. More surprisingly, it is possible that the differences between the types of offenses have remained remarkably constant over the past 37 years; the crimes marked by the most racial inequality in the number of arrests in 1980 are more or less similar to the crimes marked by the most racial inequality today (Bradford, Posch, Jackson and Dawson, 2021, p. 7). The racial discrimination that has continued over the years has had the most damaging consequences. First of all, the bias of the police can lead to the fact that real criminals will escape punishment. Secondly, people’s distrust of the police system will also lead to an increase in crime. Thirdly, citizens do not feel safe when they can be stopped on the street for no reason. Finally, every citizen should have the right to feel protected; therefore, discrimination based on race, in particular when using the stop and search method, is unacceptable.
The inadmissibility of racial bias, especially on the part of the police, is clear, but the system is difficult to accept change. The stop and search method, which is outdated in all respects, continues to be the leading way to fight weapons or drug trafficking and terrorism. In practice, creating a community of equal crime risk for all demographic groups can be challenging for any institution, as measured by the level of crime victimization (Schwartz, 2020, p. 281). It is necessary to modernize the police system radically to change the existing order. This improvement requires the widespread introduction of electronic tools that make it faster and easier to identify potential criminals. It should be borne in mind that racial minorities are not only victims of prejudice but also victims of crimes based on racial hatred. This imbalanced policing can use evidence-based policing to reduce the rate of allocation of more significant resources to communities at increased risk of homicide (Meng, 2017, p. 19). Modernization and abandonment of the old stop and search system require high financial costs and re-profiling of employees. One thing is clear: to improve the situation, it is first required to abandon racial prejudices in matters of the police system.
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The research has shown that stop and search method is the most representative example of racial discrimination in the police system. Statistics show that ethnic minorities are much more likely to be stopped by the police and searched for drugs and weapons. The use of this method has already been ineffective and even dangerous: citizens do not feel safe. It is obvious that the existing system requires significant changes. However, these changes must start with eliminating racial discrimination. Otherwise, practical improvements will be impossible.
Baumgartner F.R., Epp D.A., Shoub K. (2018) Suspect Citizens. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Bradford B. (2017) Stop and Search and Police Legitimacy. New York: Routledge.
Bradford B., Posch K., Jackson J. and Dawson P. (2021) ‘A street corner education: Stop and search trust, and gendered social norms’, pp. 1-18.
Hargreaves J. (2018) ‘Police Stop and Search Within British Muslim Communities: Evidence From the Crime Survey 2006–11’, The British Journal of Criminology, 58 (6), pp. 1281–1302.
McInerney D.J. (2020) The Realities of Policing Diverse Communities from Minority and Police Perspectives. New York: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Meng Y. (2017) ‘Profiling minorities: police stop and search practices in Toronto, Canada’, Human Geographies, 11 (1), pp. 6-19.
Partington M. (2019) Introduction to the English Legal System 2019-2020. New York: Oxford University Press.
Phillips C., Bowling B. (2017) Ethnicities, racism, crime, and Criminal Justice. Liebling A., Maruna S., McAra L. (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology. New York: Oxford University Press, pp.193 – 212.
Schwartz S. A. (2020). Police brutality and racism in America. Explore (New York, N.Y.), 16(5), pp. 280–282. Web.
Sherman, L.W., Kumar, S. (2021) ‘Equal Protection by Race with Stop and Frisk: a Risk-Adjusted Disparity (RAD) Index for Balanced Policing’. Camb J Evid Based Polic, 5 (19) Web.