The disproportionality in the use of force against black people adds to the irrefutable evidence of structural racism embedded in policing practices.

 Deborah Coles, Director of INQUEST

INQUEST’s ongoing casework and monitoring shows that 14% of deaths in police custody or otherwise following contact with the police since 1990 were black, Asian and minority ethnic people (BAME). This is proportionate to the population as at the 2011 census.

However, people of black, Asian and minority ethnicity die disproportionately as a result of use of force or restraint by the police, raising serious questions of institutional racism as a contributory factor in their deaths. 

  • The proportion of BAME deaths in custody where restraint is a feature is over two times greater than it is in other deaths in custody
  • The proportion of BAME deaths in custody where use of force is a feature is over two times greater than it is in other deaths in custody
  • The proportion of BAME deaths in custody where mental health-related issues are a feature is nearly two times greater than it is in other deaths in custody

- Analysis of INQUEST casework and monitoring

Please note: INQUEST are in the process of updating the information on these pages, including disaggregating the statistics and analysis according to ethnic background. 


Background on restraint related deaths and disproportionate number of deaths of people from black, Asian and minority ethnic groups

In October 2017 the landmark Independent review of deaths and serious incidents in police custody by Dame Elish Angiolini QC was published. Commissioned by Theresa May when she was Home Secretary, the review called for action in tackling discrimination.

It recognised the disproportionate number of deaths of people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups following restraint and the role of institutional racism and police training and concluded that the "Deaths of people from BAME communities, in particular young black men, resonate with the black community's experience of systemic racism."

In January 2018, the Independent Office for Police Conduct replaced the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Dame Anne Owers, the outgoing IPCC chair, urged for the relationship between ethnicity and use of force to be looked at closely.

In April 2018, a group of United Nations experts commented on ‘structural racism’ being rooted at the heart of British society. The group of human rights experts cited police data showing a disproportionate number of people from ethnic minorities died as a result of excessive force.

 


Below is the breakdown of deaths of people of black, Asian and minority ethnicity (BAME) in custody or following other police contact and as the result of police shootings in England and Wales by calendar year (January-December) since 1990. This information is from INQUEST’s casework and monitoring.

Total BAME deaths in police custody or otherwise following contact with the police, England & Wales 1990-date
Type Metropolitan Police Other Forces Total
Custody 84 79 164
Shooting 15 5 20
All custody and shooting deaths 99 84 184

BAME deaths in police custody or otherwise following contact with the police, England & Wales 1990-date

Year Type Metropolitan Police Other Forces Total
2020 Custody 0 1 1
Shooting 1 1 2
Total 1 2 3
2019 Custody 1 0 1
Shooting 1 1 2
Total 2 1 3
2018 Custody 2 1 3
Shooting 0 0 0
Total 2 1 3
2017 Custody 2 7 9
Shooting 4 1 5
Total 6 8 14
2016 Custody 1 3 4
Shooting 0 0 0
Total 1 3 4
2015 Custody 2 4 6
Shooting 1 0 1
Total 3 4 7
2014 Custody 1 4 5
Shooting 1 0 1
Total 2 4 6
2013 Custody 0 2 2
Shooting 0 0 0
Total 0 2 2
2012 Custody 1 0 1
Shooting 0 0 0
Total 1 0 1
2011 Custody 2 6 8
Shooting 1 0 1
Total 3 6 9
2010 Custody 1 0 1
Shooting 0 0 0
Total 1 0 1
2009 Custody 2 2 4
Shooting 0 0 0
Total 2 2 4
2008 Custody 5 3 8
Shooting 0 0 0
Total 5 3 8
2007 Custody 4 1 5
Shooting 3 0 3
Total 7 1 8
2006 Custody 4 2 6
Shooting 0 0 0
Total 4 2 6
2005 Custody 5 3 8
Shooting 2 0 2
Total 7 3 10
2004 Custody 2 0 2
Shooting 0 0 0
Total 2 0 2
2003 Custody 6 5 11
Shooting 0 0 0
Total 6 5 11
2002 Custody 6 2 8
Shooting 0 1 1
Total 6 3 9
2001 Custody 3 3 6
Shooting 1 0 1
Total 4 3 7
2000 Custody 1 3 4
Shooting 0 0 0
Total 1 3 4
1999 Custody 7 4 11
Shooting 0 0 0
Total 7 4 11
1998 Custody 3 5 8
Shooting 0 0 0
Total 3 5 8
1997 Custody 3 8 11
Shooting 0 0 0
Total 3 8 11
1996 Custody 8 1 9
Shooting 0 0 0
Total 8 1 9
1995 Custody 2 1 3
Shooting 0 0 0
Total 2 1 3
1994 Custody 5 3 8
Shooting 0 0 0
Total 5 3 8
1993 Custody 2 1 3
Shooting 0 0 0
Total 2 1 3
1992 Custody 2 3 5
Shooting 0 0 0
Total 2 3 5
1991 Custody 1 1 2
Shooting 0 1 1
Total 1 2 3
1990 Custody 0 1 1
Shooting 0 0 0
Total 0 1 1

Source: INQUEST casework and monitoring

Figures last updated 11 June 2020.