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Ethnicity and Criminalisation
Official statistics show that Black and Asian people are more likely to be involved in criminal
activity. Black people are 7 times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people
and three and a half times more likely to be jailed.
Victim surveys are useful in analysing this trend through asking victims the ethnicity of the
perpetrator of crime.
They show a trend of crime being intra-ethnic, that is it takes place between rather than
between races. The British crime Survey found that in 90% of crimes where the victim was
white as least one of the offenders was white too.
However they reply on memory, Bowling claimed that white victims may `over identify'
blacks saying the offender was black even if they're not sure.
They don't examine crimes by businesses and organisations.
Self-report studies ask individuals to disclose their own dishonest and violent behaviour.
Graham and Bowling found that rates of crime were similar amongst blacks and whites but
Indian, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis has much lower rates.
Sharp and Budd note that whites and those of mixed ethnic origins were more likely to say
they had committed an offence followed by blacks and Asians. This challenged the
stereotype of black people being more likely to offend than whites, but support the view of
Asians being less likely to offend.
Phillips and Bowling note since the 1970s there have been many allegations of oppressive
policing of minority ethnic communities including `mass stop and search operations,
paramilitary tactics, excessive surveillance, armed raids, police violence and deaths in
custody and a failure to respond effectively to racist attacks.'
Stop and Search
Members of minority ethnic groups are more likely to be stopped and searched by the
In addition under the Terrorism Act 2000 police can stop and search a vehicle whether or not
they have reasonable suspicion. Statistics show that in 2007 Asians were three times more
likely to be stopped and searched than other people under this act.
Phillips and Bowling note members of ethnic minority communities are more likely to think
they are `over policed' and under protected' and to have limited faith in the police.
Explaining Stop and search patters.
o Police racism: Phillips and Bowling point out that many officers hold negative
stereotypes about ethnic minorities as criminals, leading to deliberate targeting for
stop and search. Such stereotypes are endorsed and upheld by criminal justice
o Ethnic differences in offending: disproportionality in stop and searches simply
reflects ethnic differences in levels of offending.
o In low discretion stops, police act on relevant information about a specific
offence, for example a victim's description of the offender.
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In High discretion stops, police act without specific intelligence, officers use
their stereotypes that making law enforcement seem discriminatory and
o Demographic Factors: Ethnic minorities are over-represented in the population
groups who are most likely to be stopped, such as the young, the unemployed,
manual worker and urban dwellers.…read more
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Black males were five times more likely to be in prison than whites and receive longer
Amongst ethnic minorities they are more likely to be kept on remand and not granted bail
before they wait for trial.
EXPLAINING THE DIFFRENCE IN OFFENDING
Large scale migration from the Caribbean and the Indian Sub-continent began in the 1970's.…read more
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In the early 1970's capitalism faced a crisis due to inflation rates and rising unemployment
increasing widespread conflict and unrest.
When opposition to capitalism begins to grow in these times the ruling class many need to
use force to maintain control in a way regarded legitimate.
The 1970's saw the emergence of a media driven moral panic about the supposed growth of
a new crime mugging and soon was associated by the media and police with black youths.…read more