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Strip searches 492A/22


The number of strip searches undertaken in the last 15 years, followed by a breakdown of ethnicity, gender and age.

If you could also provide some further information on the types of setting these searches take place i.e police van, school, refuge centre etc…


Please note that strip searches occur as a result of a “stop search”, and also as a result of a person having been arrested in custody.

Please see attachment 429A_22 attachment where there is a tab for each separate area.

Strip searches following a “stop search”:

We can confirm that some relevant information is held by West Midlands Police. However, while the majority of the information is attached to this email I am afraid that I am not required to release all of the information requested. Please find attached our response (492A_22 attachment).

The withheld information is in relation to the locations of the strip searches.

We do not record a “generic location” ie police van, police station, etc we record the exact address / location.  This information is exempt by virtue of S40 (2) as an individual may potentially be identified from the release of this information.

Please also note that the data provided for data stop search strip searches is available after April 2014 only as data prior to this date is not held in a retrievable format.

Having reviewed the result data for strip searches following stop search, there are some clear recording errors which have been confirmed.  These are for those that are aged 10 and under.


Age No. Searches
0 2
3 1
8 1
10 1


I can confirm that these ages are recorded in error.

We can confirm we have not searched any babes in arms or toddlers.

Strip searches as a result of having been arrested and booked into custody:

Our data are not organised in such a way as to allow us to provide this information within the appropriate (cost) limit within the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act (see ‘Reason for Decision’ below).

At this time, it would require a manual examination of 6,710 custody records. At 5 minutes per record, that calculates to 559 hours of work to locate the figures beyond 7th April 2021.

The data provided for the strip searches following arrest in custody are only available in a retrievable format from 2019 to 7th April 2021. This is due a change in our recording systems.


Please see (492A_22 attachment) for the data.

Please note that these data should be interpreted with caution. Comparing numbers of incidents/crimes can be misleading and does not necessarily indicate the likelihood of someone being a victim of crime. In addition, the number of incidents/crimes recorded in an area over a period of time can be influenced by a number of factors. Consequently, statistics on incidents/crimes for one period may not necessarily be a good indicator of future incidents in that area.

Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from a number of data sources used by forces for police purposes. The detail collected to respond specifically to your request is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are considered when interpreting those data.

The figures provided therefore are our best interpretation of relevance of data to your request, but you should be aware that the collation of figures for ad hoc requests may have limitations and this should be considered when those data are used.

If you decide to write an article / use the enclosed data we would ask you to take into consideration the factors highlighted in this document so as to not mislead members of the public or official bodies, or misrepresent the relevance of the whole or any part of this disclosed material.

As recommended as good practice by the Information Commissioner’s Office a version of this response may be published on the West Midlands Police website.