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From The Socialist newspaper, 8 November 2007

Stop and search failure

ONLY ONE in every 400 'stop and searches' leads to arrest, official figures reveal. The guardian reported that the number of stops under anti-terrorism laws in 2005/6 showed a 34% rise on the previous year to 44,543.

Asian people faced an 84% increase, black people a 51% increase, searches of "other" ethnic groups rose 36% and white people faced a 24% increase. Despite government initiatives to counter racism in the police, launched after the inquiry into the Stephen Lawrence case, clearly nothing much has changed.

The guardian also reported that the number of racist incidents recorded by police rose 4%, to 60,407, though the government says this is only a fraction of those that occurred. Racially or religiously aggravated offences rose by 12% to 41,382.

Given the racist language and policies coming from some MPs, it is no surprise the problem persists. From Gordon Brown's "British jobs for British people" to Tory MP Nigel Hastilow's claim that Enoch Powell was "right on immigration", political leaders use the politics of divide and rule to divert anger away from themselves and the policies of attacks on public services they are responsible for.

Sarah Sachs-Eldridge

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In The Socialist 8 November 2007:

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