Strip Searches of Arrestees, England

"One study on the role of closed circuit television in a London police station emphasizes the potential for abuse and discrimination when police officers have discretion to strip search detainees.174 From May 1999 to September 2000, officers in the station processed over 7000 arrests.175 The station’s policy allowed officers of the same sex to conduct strip searches only if they felt it was necessary to remove drugs or a harmful object.176
"For each arrest, the researchers documented the detainee’s age, sex, ethnicity, and offense.177 A statistical analysis of these factors revealed that, as expected, people arrested for drug offenses were the most likely to be strip searched.178 The results also showed that while all other variables (age, sex, and offense) were controlled, females were less likely to be strip searched than males, and arrestees who were seventeen to twenty-three years old were more likely to be strip searched than other age groups.179 In addition, ethnicity influenced whether a strip search was conducted even when all other variables were taken into account. Specifically, compared to white Europeans, African-Caribbeans were twice as likely to be searched while Arabics and Orientals were half as likely.180 The researchers in the study concluded that the data at least 'raise . . . the spectre of police racism' and reveal that 'policing is unequally experienced,' though it is impossible to determine whether the disproportionate number of strip searches of African-Caribbeans is due to institutional racism or unintentional discrimination.181"


Ha, Daphne, "Blanket Policies for Strip Searching Pretrial Detainees: An Interdisciplinary Argument for Reasonableness," Fordham Law Review (New York, NY: Fordham University School of Law, May 2011) Vol. 79, No. 6, pp. 2740-2741.