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Thousands of Children, Especially Those of Color, Strip-Searched by Police in England and Wales: New Data Reveals Alarming Racial Disparity

Over 60 children under the age of 18 in England and Wales were strip-searched by police each week in the year leading up to March 2023, amounting to 3,122 searches.
Out of 41 police forces, 68,874 strip searches were conducted in total.

Children from black, Asian, or mixed race backgrounds were disproportionately targeted.

The Home Office justifies strip-searches as essential for public safety, with safeguards in place.

The Children's Society CEO, Mark Russell, expressed concern over new data revealing a significant racial disparity in the strip-searching of children in the UK.

The figures showed that 37% of strip-searched children identified as black, Asian, or mixed race, compared to 23% of adults.

Only 45% of children had their ethnic background recorded as white, while 60% of adults did.

Russell described the practice as "deeply disturbing" and emphasized that strip-searching children should only occur in exceptional circumstances with an adult present.

However, it's known that these guidelines are not consistently followed in practice.

A 15-year-old black schoolgirl named Child Q was wrongly suspected of carrying drugs in 2020 and ordered to undress during a strip search by police.

The figures released after this incident provide the most comprehensive national view to date on the strip-searching of children by law enforcement.

The search took place without her parents being contacted and in the absence of other adults.
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Translated by AI
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