Questions of ethnicity and gender were barely looked at by sociologists of crime and deviance until the 1970s. The primary focus was on class. Since the 1970s, sociologists have recognised the need to focus on ethnicity and gender. It was assumed that the CJS treated all ethnic groups fairly. A major investigation into police immigrant relations in 1972 argued that ‘black people were more law abiding than the general population’ and there was little evidence of racist attacks against Black and Asian immigrants.
However during the 1980s, relations between the police and the Black community deteriorated and there was increasing evidence of racist attacks. The Scarman Report 1981 into the Brixton disorders emphasised how the riots were essentially an outburst of anger and resentment by young African Caribbean’s against the harassment they received by the police.
A Home Office Report in 1985 looked at racial attacks. It revealed that South Asians were 50x more likely and Afro-Caribbean’s were 36x more likely to be the victims of racially motivated attacks than whites.