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Ethnicity & Crime. Afro-Caribbean males figure disproportionately in the crime statistics. Why is this?. Home Office 2002 Ethnicity & Justice System. Home Office 2002: Arrests & Prisoners rate [per 1000 people] of the three main ethnic communities. Home Office 2001 % of Ethnicities as Victims.

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ethnicity crime

Ethnicity & Crime

Afro-Caribbean males figure disproportionately in the crime statistics. Why is this?

home office 2002 arrests prisoners rate per 1000 people of the three main ethnic communities
Home Office 2002:Arrests & Prisoners rate [per 1000 people]of the three main ethnic communities
gilroy the myth of black criminality 1982 1
Gilroy: The Myth of Black Criminality 1982 1
  • The Commission on Racial Equality argues that the crime figures for blacks are distorted.
  • Black communities cluster in the inner-cities, where, as environmental studies show, crime rates are high . Blacks will inevitably have higher than average rates of crime, whilst white MC lowers the white rate generally.
  • The white community is aging [low birth rate &people living longer] The black community has a far higher proportion of young people, who are generally more likely to offend
gilroy the myth of black criminality 1982 2
Gilroy: The Myth of Black Criminality 1982 2
  • Much black crime is low-level & drug related. Such crimes have high rates of multiple offending This gives a false impression of the real numbers of blacks people involved in criminal behaviour.
  • Institutional racism will account for much of the difference between white and black crime rates. EG: rates of stop & search > rates of conviction.
  • Public concern about crime, as whipped up by moral panics in the media and Parliament, are much more likely to target street crime than white collar crimes. This gives the mistaken impression that crime is something blacks do to whites.
walker interpreting race and crime 1 1987
Walker: Interpreting Race and Crime 1 1987
  • The number of prosecutions that failed were similar for both blacks & whites
  • SO: the original accusations & police prosecutions must have been reasonable.
  • Asian crime rates much lower than A-F, despite both sharing inner-city deprivation.
  • Hindus & Sikhs more likely, than Muslims, to be MC, with both parents English speaking & educated. Unemployment: White 8%, Indians 12%, Pakistani, Bangladeshis & A-F’s 25%.
walker interpreting race and crime 2 1987
Walker: Interpreting Race and Crime 2 1987
  • Lower Asian rates cannot simply be explained by all Asians being better off than all A-F’s.
  • Research suggests Asians have stronger family loyalties & obligations, a greater sense of community and are integrated by customs, religion & culture
  • Asian street gangs raising crime levels amongst Muslim Asians. Increased stop & search of Asians, following 9:11, is provoking resistance.
  • A higher proportion of Asians are 1st & 2nd generation immigrants. Rates might yet rise.
phillips bowling 2002 1 race the criminal justice system
Phillips & Bowling 2002: 1 Race & the Criminal Justice System
  • Phillips & Bowling believe that cultural stereotyping & heightened suspicion do amount to racist discrimination on the part of the police and the courts, particularly of Afro-Caribbeans.
  • Before 9/11, stereotypes of Asians were as self-regulating & passive & unthreatening. Izzat or family honour inhibited deviancy in boys, whilst girls had little opportunity to become deviant. Yet Asians experienced similar poverty to Af-C’s.
  • Recent studies [Desai] suggest a rise in Asian gangs, promoting a ‘Bengali Bad Boy’ image. They interpret this as resistance to harassment.
phillips bowling 2002 2 race the criminal justice system
Phillips & Bowling 2002: 2 Race & the Criminal Justice System
  • [Alexander 2000 challenges Desai, claiming that ‘Asian gangs’ were a media invention, following the Bradford riots.]
  • Since 9/11 Asians have been increasingly stereotyped as terrorist sympathisers & stopped.
  • Policing decisions are based on stereotypes that lead to aggressive policing: over-policing of immigrant neighbourhoods: armed raids, riot squads, stop & search and abusive language.
phillips bowling 2002 3 race the criminal justice system
Phillips & Bowling 2002: 3Race & the Criminal Justice System
  • P & B concluded that Stop and Search continued to operate against immigrants, by something between 2 to 5 times [A Home office study, based on CCTV evidence of S & S, contradicted this.
  • The Youth Lifestyles Survey 1999 [large sample] found that 58% of Af-C’s & 43% of Asians believed the police discriminated against them.
  • There are so many accusations of police racism and mistreatment that they cannot be dismissed.
phillips bowling 2002 4 race the criminal justice system
Phillips & Bowling 2002: 4Race & the Criminal Justice System
  • The arrest & imprisonment stats make a prima facie case for there being discrimination against black Af-C males.
  • The Crown Prosecution Service rejects many police cases against ethnic defendants, correcting police prejudice. 10% of CPS are from ethnic minorities, compared to only 4% of the police.
  • BUT: This could equally be seen as a bias in favour of the minorities, caused by the increasing fear of being accused of racism and by the need to keep statistics on ethnic crime low.
phillips bowling 2002 5 race the criminal justice system
Phillips & Bowling 2002: 5Race & the Criminal Justice System
  • Hood, in Race & Sentencing 1992, pointed out that blacks were 5% more likely to receive a custodial sentence. Black sentences were on average 3 months longer than whites [Asians 9].
  • Black confidence in the police is low, black victimisation and deprivation are high and once in the system blacks are more likely to be confirmed in a criminal career by custodial sentencing.
  • So: black criminality is caused by their social exclusion. They are more likely to be criminalised by structural inequality in Society.
neo marxist views on black crime as resistance to racism 1
Neo-Marxist views on black crime as resistance to racism 1
  • The Left targeted blacks as a marginalised group that would support social revolution.
  • Hall, in Policing the Crisis 1979, saw moral panics over black crime as an excuse for saturation policing of poor estates. This intimidated all working class youth.
  • Gilroy, in The Empire Strikes Back, saw black crime as resistance. The symbols of black culture [music, rap, pidgin, dress] were also a way of differentiating the black community from the dominant white culture.
neo marxist views on black crime as resistance to racism 2
Neo-Marxist views on black crime as resistance to racism 2
  • Cashmore, in No Future 1984, argued that Functionalist integration today depended not on production, but consumption. 50% of black youngsters in the inner-cities were unemployed. Crime provided an outlet for anomie & a chance to express Black Pride.
  • BUT: critics of the Left point out that there is no evidence that the majority of blacks [who do not commit crimes] see black crime as resistance. The older generation, who are often deeply religious, despair at the levels of crime they see.
jock young new criminology
Jock Young: New Criminology
  • The crucial linkage is still between deprived social conditions, social exclusion, racism and crime.
  • Neo-Marxism shares with Postmodernism the idea that the establishment finds it convenient to demonise some marginalised groups, as a warning to others and as a way of legitimating tougher controls over the WC generally.
  • The association in the public mind of the A-F community with street crime legitimates government policies on immigration & policing.
smith race crime and justice 1994
Smith: Race, Crime and Justice 1994
  • A-F males were 7:1 over whites in general, 9:1 in rape cases, 27:1 for drug related offences.
  • BUT: there was evidence of institutional racism because blacks were more likely to be reported as perpetrators, were more likely to be stopped & searched, more likely to be arrested, more likely to be found guilty and more likely to be given a custodial sentence.
evidence for institutional racism 1
Evidence for Institutional Racism 1
  • Stephen Lawrence was murdered in 1993.
  • The police at first thought it was ‘just another drug deal gone wrong in the Black community’.
  • Interviews with white racists were bungled and it later became impossible to make a conviction against the killers stand, even in the civil court.
  • The McPherson report 2000 argued that institutional racism, the stereotyping of blacks in police ‘canteen culture’, was to blame.
  • The government began keeping stats. on ethnic criminality and victimisation, to monitor progress on justice, recruitment and community relations.
evidence for institutional racism 2
Evidence for Institutional Racism 2
  • The Policy Studies Institute found that blacks were 100% more likely to be stopped & search on sus’. Yet only 3% of all incidents resulted in an arrest.
  • Landau & Nathan found that the police exercised discretion in favour of whites and against blacks, who were less likely to be cautioned and more likely to be charged.
  • Blom-Cooper found that blacks in Brixton were more likely to charged with the more serious offence, where police had a choice of several.
evidence for institutional racism 3
Evidence for Institutional Racism 3
  • Hood in Race & Sentencing found that blacks were more prone than whites to receiving a custodial sentence.
  • Stevens & Willis in Race, Crime & Arrests found little evidence for direct racism. 92% of crimes were discovered by public report; there was little room for police discretion to operate against blacks. But: public perception of black crime was distorted by selective reporting or highlighting of certain crimes [‘mugging’] in the media, in Chief Constable’s Reports & Home Office summaries.
evidence for institutional racism 4
Evidence for Institutional Racism 4
  • The Scarman Commission found that stop & search always caused offence, however much training police had in politeness.
  • Lea & Young found that black perception of police racism affected black cooperation with the police & reinforced the suspicion of the black community that was a feature of police ‘canteen culture’.
  • Gaskill found that blacks were twice as likely as whites to have negative images of the police.
evidence for institutional racism 5
Evidence for Institutional Racism 5
  • Clancy 2001: ‘The Experience of Ethnic Minorities’, from the 2000 British Crime Survey.
  • The survey confirmed that blacks & Asians were more more likely than whites to be the victims of street crime & burglary.
  • Blacks are 5 times [& Asians twice] as likely to be the victims of a homicide.
  • 1999-2000 there were 48,000 racially motivated offences. 11% of harassment prosecutions & 2% of assaults were ‘racially aggravated’.
  • Racial murders [The Lawrence killing] are very rare. [1999-2000: of 15, 3 were black & 3 Asian].
the new right ethnicity 1
The New Right & Ethnicity 1
  • The idea that ethnicity can explain or excuse crime is insulting to ethnic minorities, the great majority of whom are law-abiding and more likely to be the victims of crime than are whites.
  • Hall, in Policing the Crisis, cannot say both that black criminals are framed by racist police and then also claim that black poverty excuses or explains, their higher rate of offending.
  • Left wing agitators, like the Anti-Nazi League are more dangerous than the tiny & ridiculous BNP. Outsiders from the ANL were responsible for provoking the Asian rioting in Bradford.
the new right ethnicity 2
The New Right & Ethnicity 2
  • The Left exploited race to create police ‘No-Go’ areas in the cities & to intimidate the police and win support for their extreme, hard-left policies.
  • The McPherson Enquiry highlighted individual failures, on the part the police in the case of Stephen Lawrence. These made it impossible to achieve either a criminal or civil conviction.
  • BUT: the enquiry itself and its headline finding of ‘institutional racism’ proved that the British legal system is self-correcting & works for all.
  • Improved recruitment & retention of black police officers was another hopeful sign.
the new right ethnicity 3
The New Right & Ethnicity 3
  • Many police consider McPherson to be a ‘knee-jerk reaction’ to a shocking, but untypical case.
  • Police doubted that institutions could be said to exhibit emotional attitudes, like racism.
  • The charge of ‘Institutional Racism’ seemed to rest only a generalised stereotype of all police & was driven by the need to placate the minorities.
  • Racist acts or remarks are already punishable by dismissal from the police, if proven. BUT: the charge of IR, once made, can’t be disproved: “it is true the police are institutionally racist, because otherwise blacks wouldn’t think they were!”
the new right ethnicity 4
The New Right & Ethnicity 4
  • Under Labour the Home Office had stopped recording the ethnicity of criminals, for fear of exacerbating strained race relations. McPherson reversed this, to monitor progress on improving relations between police & blacks
  • BUT: Black street crime is not an artefact of distorted crime statistics. 4.3% of Londoners in 1977 were black, yet blacks accounted for 12% of all arrests and 35% of arrests for robbery & violent theft [IE: mugging]. By the 1990’s, 60% of reported street crime specified an Af-C assailant. For corporate crime black convictions are low, but for blue-collar crime they are high.
the new right ethnicity 5
The New Right & Ethnicity 5
  • The New Right worry that political correctness is making it impossible to have a mature discussion of the issues. Facts cannot be politically incorrect, only embarrassing or hard to explain.
  • The black crime rate is bound to influence police strategies for crime prevention & detection; to Police, this explains the ‘stop & search’ statistics.
  • Black community leaders were themselves calling for police intervention in black areas of town, to control the rising levels of gun and knife crime.
  • Black mothers supported police initiatives to establish zero tolerance of drugs & petty crime.