This article presents research carried out as part of a government research programme looking at how police tactic of ‘stop and search’ in England and Wales. For many years, figures which have shown a higher rate of stop and search of minority ethnic groups, particularly black people, have provoked much controversy, and have been seen by many as a manifestation of police racism. This article reviews the way in which stop and search impacts on public confidence, with particular reference to those from minority ethnic groups. It goes on to explore its role within policing, including an examination of its effectiveness against crime and the evidence for racism in police practice. Following from this, it considers how stop and search can be used in a way that minimises negative impacts on the community and maximises its effectiveness against crime.
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