Lorem ipsum dolor amet, consect adipiscing elit, diam nonummy.

Follow Us


Black Thrive - Lambeth

Empowering Black Communities: The Potential of a Novel Approach to Stop and Search Dashboards

Article by Aisha Mohamed

16th October 2023

The disproportionate targeting of Black people by the police has always been a concerning issue in our community. In 2021 a Home Office report revealed that Black people are seven times more likely to be stopped and searched than individuals from white backgrounds. The Metropolitan Police Service has been found to still be structurally racist, evidencing a distinct lack of progress since the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry 24 years ago. Research indicates that practices of stop and search result in adverse mental health consequences for Black individuals[1], including trauma and humiliation[2] [3] [4].  

While the police input stop and search data into a publicly accessible database; the data is not as clear or transparent as it could be, presenting obstacles to its usefulness to the public. To address this matter, we have worked with UNJUST, mySociety and the Centre for Society and Mental Health at King’s College London to produce an interactive data dashboard as part of the Wellcome Trust’s Mental Health Data Prize. The main purpose of the dashboard is to provide accessible data that both researchers and the public can use. The dashboard has features that break down data into different categories and compare them. It contains data on different ethnicities’ stop rates and the reasons for and the outcomes of stops, all broken down by local authority and police force area. This is useful in identifying patterns to better understand how disproportionate stop and search practices affect Black communities. Importantly, the dashboard incorporates direct links to local actors such as Members of Parliament (MPs) and Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs). One of the links directs users straight to ‘TheyWorkForYou’, another of mySociety’s services designed to make it straightforward for people to write to their MPs. We anticipate these features will be useful for people to lobby local policy makers and hold them to account, as well as to encourage local government to prioritise evidence-based policy with respect to stop and search.  
The direct involvement of people with lived experience of stop and search has been a significant part of our journey developing the dashboard. This ensures that the data visualisation methods are more comprehensible and useful than what is currently available. We held focus group sessions discussing their experiences, the challenges they and their families faced, and gathering general feedback on the usability of the data dashboard. This way the dashboard acts as a platform that serves to validate lived experience and highlight the aspects of these experiences that are shared with others and represent a systemic issue. In turn, this can empower Black communities to engage in data-driven and constructive discussions with law enforcement agencies, community organisations, and policymakers.
In conclusion, our data dashboard bridges the gap between lived experience and actionable data to create data-driven insights with respect to disparities in stop and search practices. Our goal is for it to act as a powerful catalyst for evidence-based policy interventions, advocacy efforts, and community mobilisation, empowering Black communities to actively engage in the battle against systemic racism. We extend an invitation to individuals and communities alike to join us in realising the potential of this dashboard to drive positive change and pave the way to a fairer police service for all.
Three armed police officers stood in front of a building looking at the camera