Prejudicial stereotyping and police interviewing practices in England: An exploration of legal representatives’ perceptions




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Taylor & Francis



Peer reviewed



One of the current and visible controversies in the UK policing that challenges the heart and foundation of the principle of law is arguably the apparent disproportionate use of stop and search powers involving ethnic minority communities. Differential exposure to the police to certain types of suspected offenders has been found in prior research to lead to the development of cognitive scripts that operate as stereotypes which may play a role in informing suspicions concerning police stops and searches. Focussing on whether police officers use negative stereotypes to inform suspicions when conducting stops and searches, the present study examined more than 2,100 stop and search records held by a police force in England, as well as conducting 20 semi-structured interviews with frontline serving police officers from the same force. It was found that the use of stop and search powers is consistent with (i) the use of stereotypes with respect to age, appearance, and social class; and (ii) the disproportionate recorded use of stop and search powers involving Black, Asian and Mixed communities. The implications of these findings are discussed.


The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.


stereotyping, suspicion, stop and search, policing, decision-making


Minhas, R. and Walsh, D. (2021) Prejudicial stereotyping and police interviewing practices in England: an exploration of legal representatives’ perceptions. Journal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism, 16 (3), 267-282


Research Institute

Centre for Law, Justice and Society