Tory backbencher Philip Davies enraged Labour Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott during a parliamentary debate on stop-and-search, pointing out that searching minorities more often than white people makes sense as they are disproportionately likely to kill.
People from ethnic minorities tend to be stopped and searched by police more often than native Britons — a fact which has long been a source of outcry among left-liberal politicians and social justice activists.
Labour’s Sadiq Khan made a promise to do “everything in my power” to reduce stop-and-search use a key feature of his run for Mayor of London — but has been forced into a complete u-turn amid the subsequent violent crime wave.
Now Davies, a controversial backbench MP known for his strong conservative views, has suggested it is time to revisit the issue of stop-and-search and possibly even increase its use against ethnic minorities if the evidence suggests they are more likely to be perpetrating crimes, according to the Daily Mail.
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Speaking in a debate moved by Labour’s Naz Shah, a Muslim MP briefly suspended from the party for anti-Semitism but swiftly reinstated, Davies said he was “no fan of dividing people up by the colour of their skin — in fact, I often think that the people who see everything in terms of race are the real racists”.
But he insisted it was plain that “black people, and in particular black males” were far more likely to be murder victims, and that “They are also more likely to be murderers.”
In his view, this makes the police’s tendency to stop-and-search them more often than white people perfectly reasonable.
“Following a parliamentary question I asked in 2016, I was given the following information about the ethnicity of murderers,” he explained.
“While white people made up 87 per cent of the population, they were responsible for 67 per cent of murders. Black people made up 3 per cent of the population but 14.5 per cent of murders. Asian people were 6 per cent of the population but were responsible for 12 per cent of murders, and mixed race people were 2 per cent of the population but responsible for 5.5 per cent of murders.
“It is also a fact that black people are more likely to use a knife or a sharp instrument to kill,” he continued.
“That is the background and those are the facts. I am not sure anybody disputes them, because they are the official facts. If no crimes were taking place, we would not need stop-and-search, but in the real world there is crime, and it is a serious problem.
“The use of stop-and-search is just one way to fight against crime and one tool to try to prevent it, but it is a very important tool.”
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Shah, who moved the debate because she felt stop-and-search was negatively impacting so-called BAME (black and minority ethnic) communities, found Davies’s arguments difficult to take in, saying she was “struggling” with them repeatedly.
Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, who is well known for her belief that “White people love playing divide and rule”, was incensed, twice demanding: “Are you saying that black, Muslim and Asian people, as a whole, are more likely to be criminal?”
Davies stuck to his guns, however, saying he was simply quoting the statistics, and disputed the contention that minorities are only overrepresented in the crime statistics because they are more likely to be searched in the first place.
“I asked a parliamentary question about this in 2016. I was told that the following were the percentages of searches that resulted in an arrest. For white people who were stopped and searched, 13 per cent were arrested as a result. For black people it was 20 per cent, for Asian people 14 per cent and for mixed race people 17 per cent.
“The evidence shows that the community that is much more likely to be stopped and searched and yet found to have done nothing wrong is white people. Those are the facts. They might be inconvenient facts for people who have a particular agenda, but they are nevertheless the facts.”
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“Why are more black people being stopped? If the uncomfortable truth is that they commit more of the crimes for which they are stopped, we need to accept that and deal with it,” Davies concluded matter of factly.
“As a result of this politically correct chatter about stop-and-search, the number of stop-and-searches has reduced dramatically. One reason is that the police fear stopping and searching people in case they are branded racist.
“In fact, one police officer told me that, in their training, they were told to avoid stopping and searching somebody from an ethnic minority because it could easily get them into trouble. What a message to send out to our police officers, who try their best to combat crime.”