Home Office figures show there were 558,973 during the 12 months – leading to 73,423 arrests. London’s Metropolitan Police carried out the most at 268,384, followed by Merseyside (33,416), West Midlands (24,269) and Essex (19,248). In total 40 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales saw a rise in stop and searches.
The three that did not were Dorset, Warwickshire and Surrey.
The Home Office said: “Stop and search is a vital tool for taking deadly weapons off our streets and preventing lives from being lost.”
The latest total is the highest number of stop and searches since 2013/14, when there were 872,518, but it is still below the peak of 2010/11, when there were 1,179,746.
Compared with 2018/19, when there were 365,554 stop and searches, it is a rise of 53 percent.
The report said: “The Metropolitan Police service accounts for half of the increase in the number of stops and searches in latest year.” Other forces to see significant rises were Merseyside (seven percent), Essex (six percent) and South Yorkshire (five percent).
Meanwhile the number of Section 60 searches, where officers can search for weapons amid fears violence is about to break out, rose by 35 percent to 18,081.
This comes after officers were given greater powers last year. The rules, which can be in force for up to 48 hours, let them search people in a defined area during a specific time period when they believe serious violence will occur.
Officers can look for weapons before they can be used, or for those used in a recent attack, and do not need “serious grounds for suspicion”– only a reasonable belief that a disturbance may occur.
The figures come as the Met Police revealed it had arrested 873 of London’s worst criminals since July 1.
Detective Chief Superintendent Lee Hill, of the Violent Crime Taskforce, said: “Some of London’s most prolific and dangerous individuals have been taken off the streets in what has been a truly Met-wide effort.
“The public will continue to see significant operational activity to deter offenders from returning to crime and to suppress violence in all its forms.”