2. Memorandum submitted by
Dr Marian FitzGerald, Specialist Adviser to the Committee
This paper is based on statistics provided specially
for the Committee by four police services:
The Metropolitan Police Service
The forces vary in the size and internal make-up
of their "Black" populations. The largest Black group
in London is of African origin. Although Black Caribbeans are
the largest single Black group in the other areas, only in the
West Midlands do they account for over half of the Black population
(at 56%). Among young people, the proportion is much smaller and
the growth of the African and "Mixed" groups is becoming
increasingly important for the future.
The police figures are patchy but they were
able to provide them at the level of Basic Command Units (BCUs)
and for the financial year 2005-06, whereas the most recently
published Home Office figures are at force level only and date
back to 2004-05. The figures were supplemented by Youth Justice
Board statistics for the force areas.
The Home Office does not require forces to keep
ethnic information on victims of crime reports; but figures kept
by the MPS suggest the following:
Black people are slightly overrepresented
as victims compared to their presence in local populations; but
the lower figure for Black males
compared to other groups confirms that they may be less likely
to report crimes against them to the police.
Black overrepresentation as
victims is higher in the younger age ranges; and
they are more likely to be victims
of violence (including serious violence and rape).
Despite the requirement to keep ethnic information
on homicide victims, a surprising number of cases show ethnicity
as "unknown" in some forces. The London data are more
complete, though; and the total figures for six years are large
enough to show that:
by far the largest numbers of
homicides in the Black group were of males aged 21 to 30; but
by far the highest level of
"disproportionality" was at younger ages where Black
males accounted for nearly two thirds of all murders of 10 to
17 year olds.
More detailed information for 2005-06 suggests
that, overall, murders with sharp instruments in that year were
more than three times as common as those using firearms. In the
case of Black men, though, the figure reduces to two-to-one; and
in the case of Black male victims aged 15 to 30, 10 were murdered
with guns compared to 13 stabbings.
Entry into the Criminal Justice System
In London, police searches under s1 of PACE
fall disproportionately on Black people in all 32 boroughs; but
in most this closely reflects the suspect descriptions recorded
by the police. Compared to other groups, s1 searches fall particularly
heavily on Black men and a higher proportion of these are in the
younger age ranges.
The arrest rate from s1 searches of Black people
is similar to or higher than that for Whites in all areas; and
this too could be cited by the police as evidence that the searches
are justified. However, most s1 searches do not result in an arrest;
so even if there are legitimate reasons for the level of disproportionality,
this would still mean that Black young men going about their lawful
business are disproportionately searched. And, as the Committee
repeatedly heard, this is a major source of deep-seated resentment.
The problems are far more acute in the case
of searches under s60 of the 1994 Criminal Justice and Public
Order Act. These do not require officers to have "reasonable
grounds" for any search, so the arrest rate is much lower;
and their impact on Black people is more disproportionate in.
Generally, s60 searches are much less common than s1 searches;
but, in the West Midlands, they account for about half of all
searches on Black peopleand in the BCU with the largest
Black population they are twice as common as s1 searches.
Most arrests are not the result of police
searches. So it is mistaken to claim that searches significantly
increase the numbers of Black people in the criminal justice system.
Black people are overrepresented in the arrest figures too; but
the level of disproportionality varies by area and actually appears
to be lower in London than in the three other forces.
Where further analyses were possible these show
important differences in the offences for which different groups
are arrested as well as differences by age, although there are
also local variations within this picture. Black young people
are generally more likely than Whites to be arrested for robbery
and drugs offences, but a higher proportion of young White people
in the same areas enter the criminal justice system for burglary
and criminal damage. However, robbery tends to be more common
among young Black people aged 10 to 17 whereas by age 18 to 20
a higher proportion are arrested for drugs offences. Not only
are drug offences a more important route into the system for Black
young people than for Whites, the offences they are accused of
tend to be more serious.
In Greater Manchester and Nottingham, figures
were available for young people of `Mixed' origins and these further
highlighted the growing importance of this group for the future.
Young people of Black Caribbean/White heritage in Nottingham actually
outnumber those of Caribbean origin as such among arrestees aged
Since the CPS and the courts are not required
to collect ethnic statistics, there is little published information
on the proportion of arrests of different ethnic groups which
result in a disposal of some sort. However, both Greater Manchester
Police and the MPS were able to provide some information on this.
They differ in the overall proportion of all arrests which do
not result in a formal disposal; but, in both areas, arrests of
young Black people are slightly more likely to result in no further
action compared to Whites. At the same time, Black young people
are slightly less likely to receive a caution or warning.
In London, the proportion of young Black people
charged with an offence is higher than for Whites in both the
10 to 17 and the 18 to 20 age groups; but the figures are also
large enough to break this down by offence type. In the case of
robbery, the vast majority of offences result in a charge and
there were no ethnic differences within this; but the overrepresentation
of Black young people in robbery will itself increase the overall
proportion of Black young people charged with an offence. Cases
of violence against the person, though, are more likely to result
in young Black people being charged compared to Whites but the
opposite is true in cases of theft and handling. Reliably to interpret
these contrasting findings would require information on the relative
seriousness of the offences involved and on other factors such
as admission and criminal histories.
Additional insights from Youth Justice Board statistics
Significant numbers of young people who receive
a reprimand or formal warning from the police appear not to be
known to local Youth Offending Teams, although the scale of the
problem varies by area. Black young people are disproportionately
represented among the 10-17 year olds who are known to the youth
justice system but the overall level of "disproportionality"
is lower than in the police statistics. This may be because the
published police figures refer only to "notifiable"
offences, but many young people in the YOT statistics have committed
summary offences and/or have breached a previous order (although
the prevalence of some of these categories varies by area).
Patterns of offending
Despite their differences from the police figures,
the YOT data show similar ethnic differences in offending patterns,
even within the same areas. Again, White young people are more
likely to have received a disposal for criminal damage and burglary
offences while Black young people are more likely to enter the
system for robbery and drugs offences. However, the pattern for
the `Mixed' group is different from either.
Remands and disposals
Both Black people and those of Mixed heritage,
though, are consistently less likely to receive pre-court disposals.
They are more likely to be remanded in custody rather than bailed
and they are also more likely to receive custodial sentences.
The YOT data do not provide any information on the level of seriousness
of their offences, whether the offences are admitted or other
relevant factors like previous convictions. However, both Black
and Mixed heritage young people receive longer sentences than
Whites and a higher proportion of these are sentenced for offences
which, in the case of adults, would be eligible for custodial
sentences of 14 years or more
Issues arising from the analyses
Police forces hold much richer and more up-to-date
ethnic information than is apparent from the figures published
by the Home Office. Importantly, these are susceptible of analysis
at sub-force level, by age and in many cases also by gender. As
such, they have considerable potential for informing local policy
and this is essential for several reasons.
There are local variations in the make up of
minority populations, their particular social, economic and policy
context and issues of crime and policing related to these. Interventions
need to take account of these factors and to be delivered in ways
which are locally appropriate. Their impact will then also need
to be monitored at local level.
That is, top-down solutions may not be appropriate
and one-size-fits-all approaches may not work in many situations.
In most areas the numbers of ethnic minorities in forces' data
will be too small for meaningful analysis at BCU level; but an
over-emphasis on statistics (driven by an imperative to make the
figures look less "disproportionate" in the absence
of any agreement on what fairness should look like) may actually
inhibit forces from finding other ways of exploring the issues,
discovering with precision where any problems are arising and
taking any necessary action.
In any case, no progress is likely without local
"ownership" of the issues; but the relative absence
of information in some forces even on items where they are formally
required to keep ethnic statistics suggests that the s95 figures
are currently seen as yet another set of statistics forces have
to collect to provide returns to the Home Office. Even where the
data provided to the Committee have provided valuable new insights,
the forces which provided them may not have been aware of these
or their possible policy implications.
Similarly, the YJB data appear very comprehensive;
but the published figures do not provide any breakdown within
ethnic group by age or gender. Nor do they include information
on other factors which would need to be taken into account before
any inferences of discrimination could be drawn. However, it is
also worth exploring why the youth justice figures show less disproportionality
than the police statistics. One possible reason is that the police
figures count incidents rather than individuals; and this may
itself exaggerate the impression of disproportionality since the
same individual may come repeatedly to police attention and any
ethnic differences in the rate at which this occurs could significantly
affect the total for each group.
Collecting ethnic statistics cannot be justified
if they are not analysed with rigour and the findings used to
inform policy and practice; and this is especially true in the
present context. For there is an increasing danger that the publication
of figures which repeatedly and crudely highlight Black people's
overrepresentation in crime compared to their presence in the
population may eventually serve only as evidence to support racist
Origins of this report
The published statistics on ethnic minorities
and the criminal justice system are patchy in their coverage.
Also, those for individual police forces cover the whole of any
force area, even though the distribution of minorities varies
considerably at sub-force level, as do overall levels of crime,
the deployment of police resources in relation to this and the
use of police powers. In addition, for the purposes of the inquiry,
the available data are often limited by the absence of any breakdown
by age; and no information is available on the ratio of males
to females within different ethnic groups at most key points in
the criminal justice system.
The Committee therefore approached four police
forces to ask what additional information they could provide from
the data they already routinely hold which might shed light on
these issues. The forces were:
the Metropolitan Police Service
The first three of these are large urban forces,
whereas Nottinghamshire is a much smaller force, much of which
comprises rural areas and medium size towns. However, it has recently
suffered levels of gun crime and drug-related activity which are
more usually associated with the inner city areas of metropolitan
forces; and here, as in the other three forces, young Black people
have been victims of this violence. The forces vary in the size
and the ethnic make-up of their resident Black populations (see
further below); but between them, they account for 75% of the
Black population served by the 43 police forces in England and
Wales. That is, any supposedly national average figures for Black
people in the published figures may largely be determined by what
happens in these four forces.
The information received from the forces varied
in its coverage, in the extent to which this recorded ethnicity
and also in the form in which the data were provided, which in
turn had implications for the extent to which further analyses
were possible. The forces were, though, most helpful in responding
to our requests in a very short space of time and, taken together,
the material provides important additional insights to the statistical
information available to the Committee to date. It also indicates
the potential of force level data both for exploring the factors
behind the overrepresentation of Black people (and young people
in particular) in the criminal justice system and for considering
their implications for policy and practice.
This report begins by setting out information
on the Black population of each area, set in the context of the
force's Basic Command Units (BCUs). It then looks in turn at:
(b) entry into the criminal justice system;
(c) subsequent decisions;
before concluding with some brief, personal
reflections on possible implications for the inquiry.
The police are no longer responsible for the
decision to charge arrestees; and the CPS are unable to provide
any ethnic data on this point. Nonetheless, the data from forces
offered some useful insights under c) and this was supplemented
by statistics on 10-17 year olds in the same local areas from
Youth Offending Team (YOT) returns to the Youth Justice Board.
The local context in four forces
Most police data are still presented using the
traditional "4+1" codes adopted when mandatory ethnic
monitoring was introduced in 1996 (ie White, Black, Asian, Other
and Not Known/Recorded). This system was based on visual classification
by police officers and was effectively a condensed version of
the six point (PNC) classification traditionally used by the police
to classify suspects by ethnic appearance. The currently available
published data, for the most part, still use this four point classification.
However, officers have formally been required since 2003 to ask
any individual they stop, search and/or arrest to classify themselves
according to the 16-point Census classification. For the purposes
of this paper, it is assumed that the "Black" group
in the police statistics comprises the following Census categories:
Mixed White-Black Caribbean.
Mixed White-Black African.
Table 1 shows the total size of this Black population
in each of the force areas and its internal composition. Both
vary considerably, with Black Africans the predominant group in
London but people of `Mixed' White and Black Caribbean heritage
accounting for more than a quarter of all Black people in Greater
Manchester and the West Midlands, and fully a third in Nottinghamshire.
It is only in the West Midlands that Black Caribbeans still account
for more than half of the total Black population; but even here
the figure is no more than 56 per cent.
Size and composition of "Black"
population in each force area
|Of which ||
|% residents "Black"
||Mixed White- Black Caribbean
||Mixed White-Black African
||Black African||Any other Black group
|Greater Manchester|| 1.9
|West Midlands|| 2.8
The MPS additionally provided an age breakdown for the different
groups in the London population and this provides further evidence
that, even in London, the population of "Mixed" origins
will form an increasingly important component of the Black youth
population for the future. Meanwhile, the Black Caribbean population
of the capital will continue to shrink and already comprises less
than a third of the total Black group in the 10-17 age range (see
However, the distribution of the Black group within each
force area is very skewed. As Figure 2 shows, it does not follow
the distribution of the population as a whole between the component
In each force, the areas in which Black people tend to be
concentrated also tend to have higher than average levels of crime.
However, the high crime areas in each force are not exclusively
those with larger than average Black populations; for crime levels
tend to be closely associated with two types of area characteristics.
On the one hand, victim surveys confirm that people living in
very deprived areas are more likely to be victims of crime. White
people account for the majority of residents in many deprived,
high crime areas within each of these forces, and in many forces,
such areas will be almost exclusively White. On the other hand,
some of the highest levels of recorded crime in any force area
are in town and city centres or other neighbourhoods which have
relatively small resident populations but which attract large
numbers of non-residents for shopping, leisure, business or for
other reasons. Some
of these reasons may be crime-relatedfor example in areas
with significant drugs markets and red light districts.
In this latter type of area many (if not most) of the victims
and the perpetrators of any crimes reported will not be local:
they may come from adjacent, more residential areas or from other
parts of the same city; but some will not live within the force
area at all. Hence, the borough/CDRP of Westminster dominates
the picture for the MPS, accounting for over 7% of all London
crime but under 3% of the capital's population. Similarly, the
North Manchester BCU within the Greater Manchester CDRP accounts
12% of the force's total crime but for 5% of the force population.
In all forces, the distribution of uniformed operational
officers varies between BCUs with higher than average numbers
assigned to the highest crime areas. Typically, town and city
centres are the most intensively policed and have the most visible
police presence; but this will also apply to some degree to the
deprived high crime areas which is where Black people are more
likely to live.
As anticipated, the data kept by all forces on victimization
in general had large numbers of cases in which ethnicity was not
recorded. This is in part because the police are not required
to record victim ethnicity in cases other than homicide. In addition,
though, some recorded crimes are either "victimless"
(such as drugs offences) or they involve corporate victims rather
than individuals. In view of both the large proportion of cases
where ethnicity was not recorded and the relatively small size
of their Black populations, no victimisation data are presented
here for Greater Manchester, the West Midlands or Nottinghamshire.
In the MPS, the level of non-recording for victims varied
considerably by borough, averaging 16.5% overall but covering
a range from 44% down to less than 2%. Table 2 shows Black people
as a proportion of all victims of recorded crime, compared with
their presence in the local population for boroughs where cases
with no ethnicity recorded were 12% or lower. On average Black
people were slightly more likely to be victims of crime than their
presence in the local population would predict but there are a
few cases where the figures are much higher. More work would be
needed to discover whether, for example, the higher victimization
figures in Barking, Greenwich and Wandsworth relate to the presence
of particular groups of refugees and asylum seekers who might
not have been included in the 2001 Census figures. It may, nonetheless,
be significant that in the areas where Black people account for
over 20% of the population there tends to be more parity between
the population and victimization figures.
Black people as victims of crime* selected London boroughs
|As % all victims of recorded crime
||As % resident population
|Barking & Dagenham||15.8
|* Figures based only on cases with ethnicity recorded
Further analyses of the victim data for London as a whole
suggest that, where ethnicity is known, there are further ethnic
differences in the gender and average age of victims of crimes
recorded by the police, as well as differences in the type of
crime involved. In interpreting these figures it is important
to bear in mind that the level of recorded crime is in some measure
determined by the willingness of victims to report to the police
in the first place. So the lower figure for Black males as victims
of crime shown in Figure 3 could reflect under-reporting. For
the idea that Black men have a lower underlying rate of victimization
would be surprising in view of the homicide statistics for this
group discussed further in the next section.
Notwithstanding the possibility of under-reporting, in cases
which do come to the attention of the police, Black people account
for a higher than average proportion of victims in the younger
age ranges (Figure 4).
Black victims are also significantly more likely to be victims
of crimes of violence (Figure 5); and within this very broad offence
category, they account for a higher than average proportion of
victims of both murder (see further below) and grievous bodily
harm (GBH). Similarly, while only a small proportion of any group
is recorded as the victim of a sexual offence and the overall
figure is no higher for Black people than for any other group,
Black victims accounted for a quarter of all the recorded reports
of rape in London where ethnicity was known. However, contrary
to assertions made by several witnesses to the committee, robbery
does not account for any larger a proportion of Black victims
than it does in other groups.
Homicides are rare events; so the total numbers will be small,
particularly for minority groups within the population and it
was for this reason that forces were asked for their homicide
data for six full years, from 1999-2000 to 2005-06. Nonetheless,
Nottinghamshire had only recorded 69 homicides over that period,
of which 15 had no recorded ethnicity and only two were shown
as Black. In the West
Midlands, the numbers were much larger (390); but ethnic information
was missing in nearly two thirds of these cases.
Missing data was less of a problem in Greater Manchester;
but at 20%, this still makes inter-ethnic comparisons uncertain
when there were only 24 recorded Black victims out of a total
of 339 homicides in
six years (ie 7% of all homicides, rising to 9% of cases where
ethnicity was recorded). What can safely be inferred is that Black
people are disproportionately victims of homicide in Greater Manchester,
since only 2% of the force population is Black. Caution is needed
in breaking down these figures any further since the total is
already small; but it is worth noting that this included only
one Black female victim. Of the 23 Black males who were victims
of homicide, by far the largest numbers were aged 19 to 25 (nine)
and 26 to 35 (eight).
By contrast, not only are the numbers of homicide cases in
the MPS very much larger than anywhere else (with a total of 1,337)
only four cases had no recorded ethnicity; and 422 of the total
were Black, thus allowing scope for further analyses by gender
It is important to bear in mind that child murders are rare
in any group; but Figures 6 and 7 suggests that while Black girls
are slightly more at risk than Black boys through infancy and
primary school, the number of Black boys who are victims of homicide
rises sharply from the age of 10 onwards.
In all age groups, Black people account for a disproportionate
number of homicide victims of both sexes. However, by far the
highest level of disproportionality is in the 10 to 17 age range
where Black boys and young men account for nearly two thirds of
the London total (see Figure 7).
Additional information provided by the MPS for the financial
year 2005-06 provides case-by-case details of all homicide victims
in that year and includes information on method of killing. The
overall figures highlight the much greater prevalence of firearms-related
deaths in the case of Black victims compared to all other groups
(Figure 8a). In fact, Black victims accounted for 15 out of the
22 cases of homicides involving firearms in that year.
Given the small number of Black deaths attributable to different
methods of killing, further analyses must be treated with caution.
However Figure 8b may be illustrative in that it shows that 10
out of the 11 firearms killings of Black men were of young men
aged between 15 and 30. It should, nonetheless be borne in mind
that a higher number of victims in this age group were actually
killed with sharp instruments (ie probably a knife of some sort).
3. ENTRY INTO
Contrary to the claims made by many witnesses, police searches
have little influence on the total numbers of young Black people
who enter the criminal justice system. However, as the Committee
has repeatedly heard, they are a major source of tension between
the police and young Black people. Most of these searches are
conducted under s1 of the 1984 Police and Criminal Evidence Act
(PACE) which requires officers to have "reasonable grounds
for suspicion" that the person they search is carrying illegal
or prohibited goods before they can search them. However, the
power under s60 of the 1994 Criminal Justice and Public Order
Act allows officers to search anyone without needing "reasonable
grounds for suspicion" and this power has also been used
quite extensively in some areas in recent years. Each of these
types of search is considered in turn.
As Figure 9 shows, s1 searches tend broadly to track the
level of crime within different BCUs in both Greater Manchester
and London. Certainly the use of the power is highest in the city
centre BCUs which also record the highest level of recorded crime.
Indeed, the second "spike" in the Manchester data (which
interrupts an otherwise steady rise related to the level of crime)
is in the Metropolitan BCU which is adjacent to the city centre.
In London, though, while the level of searches on average tends
to be higher in BCUs with higher levels of crime, there is considerable
local variation. Further work would be needed to discover whether
this was in any way correlated with the types of crime in different
areas; but extensive experience of working with search data in
different police forces suggests that differences between BCUs
which do not appear to be crime-related tend to reflect local
custom and practice rather than any strategic, shared force-wide
understanding of how and where the power should be used.
Nottinghamshire did not provide search figures broken down
by BCU; but the pattern in the West Midlands (Figure 9c) stands
out from the other two forces in that it does not show the expected
peak in searches in the BCU with the highest crime levels.
Figure 9b Greater Manchester
Figure 9c West Midlands
When considering the ethnic breakdown of the s1 figures for
2005-06, it must be borne in mind not only that the police are
now required to ask everyone they search to assign themselves
to a Census ethnic classification (see earlier). Following recommendation
61 of the Macpherson report, they are now also supposed to record
details (including ethnicity) for the far more numerous occasions
where they stop and question a member of the public. Forces have
designed a common form for recording both types of encounter;
but this is necessarily far more complex than the previous search
forms. As yet, no figures have been published for stops, suggesting
that these returns are incomplete and/or otherwise deemed unreliable.
Meanwhile, anecdotally, the additional requirement regarding stops,
combined with the change in the form, has affected both the level
and the quality of s1 recording in ways which may distort inter-ethnic
Most forces have continued to use officer classification
alongside self-recorded ethnicity in the case of searches; and
the MPS, Greater Manchester and Nottinghamshire provided returns
on this basisalthough the Greater Manchester returns are
not entirely comparable with the other areas since these now include
a "Mixed' category in addition to the "White",
"Black" and "Asian" classifications.
However, returns from the West Midlands were based on the full
Census breakdown and this may, in part, explain the fact that
ethnicity was not recorded in 22% of cases in the West Midlands,
compared to 4% in Nottinghamshire and less than 2% in both London
and Greater Manchester. For the sake of comparability, "not
recorded" cases have been excluded from the following analyses
but this does mean that the figures for the West Midlands must
be considered less reliable than for the other areas.
Figure 10 confirms that the proportion of Black people in
the s1 figures considerably exceeds the proportion of Black residents
in the local population in all four force areas, although the
extent of "disproportionality" varies between the forces.
The figure is three times as high in London but five times as
high in Greater Manchester and the West Midlands and six times
as high in Nottinghamshire.
There are important ethnic differences by age and gender
within this picture; and these are broadly consistent across all
forces. A higher proportion of s1 searches in the Black group
fall on the younger age range, compared to Whitesin particular
the group aged 18-20, although in Greater Manchester (where the
average age of people searched tends to be lower for all groups)
there are also marked ethnic differences among 10-17 year olds
(Figure 11a). Also,
while searches on women are relatively uncommon in all groups,
the gender ratio for the Black group is also different from that
for Whites, with a higher proportion of all searches falling on
men (Figure 11b).
In sum, the overall level of Black disproportionality in
searches is inflated by the higher than average levels of search
among young Black men, as illustrated by the figures for Greater
Manchester in Figure 12.
To some degree the figures may also be inflated by the fact
that Black people live in higher crime areas which tend to be
more intensively policed and where the s1 power may be used more.
However, as Figure 9 has illustrated, this relationship is by
no means clear cut. The figures for London show an overrepresentation
of Black people in all 32 boroughs relative to their presence
in the local population. Uniquely, though, the MPS also keeps
data on the ethnicity of suspects in reported crimes where the
victim or witness can provide a description. As Figure 13 shows,
with few exceptions, in London the proportion of suspects described
as Black corresponds closely with the proportion of s1 searches
on Black people.
Suspect descriptions, though, are far more likely in the
case of contact crimes. In 2005-06, the average number of suspect
descriptions for each recorded case of burglary or theft/handling
in the MPS was 0.4 and 0.3 respectively; but there was one for
every recorded case of violence and the figure rose to 1.7 in
the case of robbery (where the police may be more likely to have
statements both from victims and witnesses). So involvement in
contact crimeand robbery in particularwill itself
incur a greater likelihood of being the target of an "intelligence-led"
The arrest rate from s1 searches is slightly higher than
average for Black people in all three forces which provided these
data (Figure 14),
although there are also local variations within this. Arrest rates
for all groups appear to be lower than the force average in the
city centre areas of both Greater Manchester and London (at 8%
and 11% respectively).
The arrest rate may also vary by age. However, in terms of
the groups with whom the Committee is most concerned, further
analyses of the London figures suggest that arrest rates are somewhat
higher than average for young Black men, not only overall but
compared with their White peers of the same age (Figure 15).
Inasmuch as the arrest rate provides the only prima facie
evidence of the extent to which searches are justified, therefore,
it suggests that the police are equally likely to have "reasonable
grounds" for suspicion when they use their s1 powers on Black
people as they do in the case of White people. However, the s1
power of its nature sweeps up very large numbers of people who
at the time of the search are not committing any offence, including
large numbers who may not even have any history of offending.
Insofar as Black people are very disproportionately subject to
s1 searches, this inevitably means that completely innocent Black
people are indeed disproportionately targeted by the police; and
this (as the Committee has repeatedly heard) constitutes a major
source of grievance and alienationeven though the police
may reasonably claim that their targeting does not constitute
discrimination but is largely justified pre-hoc on intelligence
grounds and post-hoc by arrest rates.
s60 of the 1994 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act allows
officers to search anyone without needing "reasonable grounds
for suspicion", albeit subject to the constraint that the
order can only be applied in a designated area "in anticipation
of serious violence" for a limited period on the authorisation
of a senior officer. Because it does not require grounds for suspicion,
the arrest rate from s60 is very much lower than for s1, averaging
less than 3%. So the impact of s60 searches on innocent members
of the public going about their legitimate business is much greater
still than that of s1.
The power was introduced on the basis that it was needed
in connection with specific events where large crowds were expected
to gather and there was the possibility of disorder, such as a
football match or a demonstration. However, in a Panorama programme
in 2000, West Midlands police claimed to be using the power as
an effective tool for tackling street crime; and the unusual extent
to which it is used in this force relative to others has been
the subject of an inquiry by the Independent Police Complaints
Commission, the fact of which is publicly known although no report
has formally published.
As Table 3 shows, in 2005-06, West Midlands police used the
s60 power at a very much higher rate than either of the other
two major urban forces.
Use of s60 by selected forces 2005-06
||Population||Rate per 000
|Greater Manchester|| 1,989
However, as Figure 16 shows, the use of the power is very
uneven within each of the force areas and is highly concentrated
in a minority of BCUs. Also, it is only in Greater Manchester
that one of the peaks for s60 corresponds with the BCU with both
the highest crime levels and the highest rate of s1 searches (see
Figure 9 above).
Use of s60 in different BCUs
Figure 16a MPS
Figure 16b Greater Manchester
Figure 16c West Midlands
In terms of the impact of s60 on Black people, the problem
of missing ethnic data is again acute in the West Midlands where
the figure for cases where ethnicity was "not known"
rose to over 30% in the case of s60 compared to 22% for s1. By
contrast, the "not known" figures for the MPS and Greater
Manchester are comparable with those for s1, at around 2%. When
these missing data are excluded, it is apparent that the extent
of disproportionality is higher again in s60 searches than it
is in s1 searches in each of these three force areas (Figure 17).
It is in the West Midlands, though, that s60 has by far the greatest
impact on Black people. For, even with the uncertainties created
by the large number of non-recorded cases, in the force overall,
the absolute number of s60 searches on Black people was at least
equal to the number of s1 searches; and in the K2 divisionwhere
the highest number of s60 searches were recordedthe number
of s60 searches was actually double that of s1 searches on Black
people in 2005-06.
Importantly for the committee, the use of s60 in the West
Midlands impacts far more on the youngest age groups than s1.
Whereas around 16% of White and Black people searched under s1
were aged 10-17 (see earlier), in the case of s60, the figure
rose to nearly 40% for both groups.
Finally, the West Midlands data did not include information
on arrests from s60 searches; but the arrest rate for both the
MPS and Greater Manchester was about 4% on average and was the
same for Black people.
The Home Office s95 publication only provides information
on arrests for notifiable offences. Analyses of the figures provided
in the most recent publication suggest that, in 2004-05, arrests
from s1 searches contributed less than 10% to the total arrest
figure. As Figure
19 illustrates, the contribution of s1 arrests was much higher
than average in London, where the recorded use of the s1 power
has always tended to be greater than elsewhere. In all areas,
though, s1 arrests accounted for a slightly higher proportion
of total arrests for Black people. The figure is still little
more than a tenth overall, though; and the size of the disparity
in the proportion of Black people arrested as a result of s1 searches
in the figure for England and Wales is simply a reflection of
the fact that the MPS accounts for 25% of all arrests from s1
searches but 69% of all s1 searches of Black people were conducted
In considering Black people's entry into the criminal justice
system, therefore, it is more important to consider patterns in
the totality of arrests than to focus on searches. Rather, the
concerns associated with searches pertain more to people who are
not arrested (see earlier) than as a route of entry into the system.
Compared to their presence in the local population, Black
people were overrepresented in the arrest figures provided by
all four forces to the inquiry (see Figure 20). There was, nonetheless,
some variation in the extent of this disproportionality;
and the pattern broadly followed that for s1 searches in that
the level of Black overrepresentation tended to be slightly lower
in London than elsewhere.
Also, while a higher proportion of these arrests occur in
areas with larger Black populations, the disproportionality (as
with searches) occurs across all BCUs, irrespective of their level
of crime or the size of their Black populations, as the picture
in London at Figure 21 illustrates. The extent of this overrepresentation
appears much higher than average in a small number of boroughs,
though; and the reasons for this might usefully be explored.
It is only in the MPS that Black arrestees tend to be younger
than Whites (Figure 22a); and again this overrepresentation of
Black young people appears to be amplified by the higher proportion
of Black young men who are arrested whereas there is less disparity
in the arrest rates of Black and White women. Males accounted
for 86% of 10-17 year old Black arrestees in London, compared
to 82% for Whites in the same age group.
Also, the White people arrested in Greater Manchester and
in Nottinghamshire appear to be younger than those in the Black
group; but the figure for 10-17 year olds in the "Mixed"
group in Greater Manchester in particular is a further reminder
of the growing importance of this group for the future. This is
also illustrated by the ethnic make up of the different age bands
in Nottinghamshire (Figure 22b) where the arrest data were presented
on the 16 point Census classification. In addition, the aggregated
figures used here for the West Midlands can similarly be unpacked
into the Census categories, showing that 35% of arrestees of Mixed
White-Black Caribbean heritage were aged 10-17, compared to a
below average figure of 18.5% for the Caribbean group.
The offences shown in Figure 23, it should be noted, cover
arrests for notifiable offences only. The detailed statistics
provided by several forces included figures for non-notifiable
offences as well. In the MPS these accounted for about a third
of all arrests on average; and although the figure was lower in
the younger age ranges (at around 15% for both Black and White
arrestees aged 10-17) this has some implications for the youth
justice statistics which are discussed further below.
With regard to notifiable offences, there are important ethnic
differences in the offences for which people are arrested; but
these also vary between areas, in part reflecting the particular
crime problems of each force. Also, as the figures for Nottinghamshire
and Greater Manchester illustrate, there are both similarities
and differences between the "Mixed" and the "Black"
groups which may have implications for the future. In all areas,
though, the Blackand to a varying extent the "Mixed"
groupare more likely to have been arrested for drugs and
for robbery offences than other groups.
However, these broad offence categories themselves also mask
a wide range of specific offences, some of which will be more
likely to culminate in a custodial offence if a charge is brought
and successfully prosecuted (see also next section). The "drugs"
category is particularly interesting in this context, not least
since drugs offences are "victimless" so the numbers
in any force area are largely dependent on proactive policing.
A specific additional request to the MPS for a breakdown
of drugs arrests sheds further light on ethnic differences within
the overall "drugs" category; and the detail provided
within the Nottinghamshire figures provides additional, important
As Figure 24a illustrates, White people arrested for drugs
offences in London are more likely to be charged with personal
possession. By contrast, Black peopleeven at the youngest
agesare more likely to be charged with possession with
intent to supply. These differences may go a long way to explaining
the fact that Black people have not equally benefited from the
change in policing policy with regard to drugs in the MPS in recent
years (Figure 24b) The additional information provided by the
MPS to the inquiry shows that the fall since 2003 has largely
been driven by a fall of 50% in arrests for personal possession,
so White people have benefited very much more from this. Arrests
for possession with intent to supply, however, actually rose at
the same time by over 20% and this will have had a disproportionate
impact on the Black group, offsetting any reductions in those
arrested for personal possession.
In Nottinghamshire, a more refined breakdown is available
within the drugs arrest category than in any of the other forces'
data. This shows that, in the case of Black arrestees, arrests
for supply are also more likely to involve class `A' drugs (Figure
24 c). In addition, they highlight a more general issue which
may be of relevance to the inquiry, which is that, even within
the same ethnic group, patterns of offending tend to change as
people get older.
As Figure 25 shows, notwithstanding important area differences
in the extent of their overall involvement in drugs offences and
in robbery, in both London and Nottinghamshire robbery is more
common among Black juveniles. As they get older, though, young
Black people appear to move out of robbery and into drug-related
Their disproportionate involvement in both robbery and drugs
offences has further implications for the type of disposal young
Black people face relative to others at the post-arrest stage.
There is a significant gap in ethnic data at the disposal
stage due to the absence of ethnic monitoring data published by
the CPS. However, all four forces were able in principle to supply
information on disposals by ethnic group. In the event these data
were received from only three forces. Of these, however, Nottinghamshire
provided information where the number of cases of "unknown"
ethnicity was consistently very much larger than the ethnic minority
total (and in some instances larger than the figure for White
people). So it has only been possible to use the disposal data
provided by Greater Manchester and the MPS.
The two forces use slightly different categories for disposals
and both issue some caveats about the coverage of the figures.
The overall picture which emerges from both areas (Figure 26)
suggests that a higher proportion of all arrestees in Greater
Manchester than in London were subject to "No Further Action".
However, they also suggest some differences between the two forces
in the disposals of Black arrestees relative to Whites. In London,
Black people are more likely, on the one had, to be charged with
an offence rather than cautioned or given a formal warning but,
on the other, to have no further action taken against them (shown
as "not proceeded with"). Importantly, though, Greater
Manchester again highlights the extent to which differences may
be more acute as between the White and Mixed group, suggesting
that any figures for the Black group may look different where
individuals of Mixed heritage are excluded from the totals. In
Manchester it is the Mixed group which has the highest rate of
"no further action"; and a lower proportion are charged
with any offence.
This broad overview picture may tell us little, though, and
could actually be misleading inasmuch as it does not reflect a
number of factors which should properly affect disposal decisions,
including the following.
Eligibility for a caution or warning depends on:
the arrestee's admitting the offence;
their previously criminal history (including
whether they may not be eligible because they have previously
been cautioned); and
the seriousness of the offence.
The decision to charge, in turn, will be influenced by these
factors; but, in addition, where the arrestee does not admit the
offence, the police and CPS will require sufficient evidencenot
least in terms of the active co-operation of victims and witnessesto
ensure a reasonable chance of conviction.
The likelihood of being charged with an offence is lowest
among younger people who are de facto less likely to have
any previous convictions or warnings. This is well illustrated
by the Greater Manchester figures which have the further advantage
that they subdivide the 10-17 age range. As Figure 27 shows, the
age profile of the Mixed group here is very much younger and they
are actually far more numerous than the Black group among 10-17
year olds. It is also a reminder that the total figures for disposals
in Figure 26 above are determined by decisions for adults. They
bear little relation to what is happening to people in the age
ranges of particular concern to the inquiry. However, the numbers
for 10-13 year olds in Manchester are so small, especially for
the minority groups, that any further breakdown by disposal type
would be unreliable.
In the 14-17 age group, Black young people appear more likely
to have no further action taken against them, whereas the Mixed
group is more likely to be charged with an offence. For both groups,
though, the rate of cautioning is lower than for Whites in each
age band (Figure 28).
The figures for London do not distinguish people of Mixed
heritage from the Black group; but they are large enough to be
disaggregated by offence type. As Figure 29 shows, some of the
overall differences in disposals between Black and White young
people may be related to differences in the type of offence for
which they are arrested in the first place. In particular, over
80% of young people arrested for robbery are charged, including
those in the lowest age range; so their overrepresentation in
the robbery figures already increases the higher charge rate for
young Black people overall and it lowers their eligibility for
a caution. However, there are also ethnic differences within offence
categories, some of which are replicated in both age bands. In
general, the proportion of cases which result in no further action
("not proceeded with") is slightly higher for Black
arrestees, with the exception of 18-20 year olds arrested for
violence against the person.
In both age groups, though, the proportion of Black people
who are charged following an arrest for violence is much higher
than for White arrestees; but further work would be needed
in order to establish whether this was because the offences involving
Black young people are more serious, because those involved are
less likely to admit the offence, because they are ineligible
for a caution or warning owing to previous convictions or for
any other reason and combination of reasons. By contrast, young
Black people tend to be far less likely than their White counterparts
to be arrested for theft and handling offences; but those who
are are more likely to receive a caution or warning. Again, more
detailed work would be needed to establish whether, for example,
these offences are more likely to be first time offences for Black
young people, and/or whether the nature of the thefts involved
is different. For the "theft and handling" category
is very large, spanning shoplifting, theft from the person and
the main types of notifiable motor vehicle crime (that is, theft
both of and from motor vehicles).
5. 10-17 YEAR OLDS
In addition to the police data which is the basis of the
earlier sections of this paper, the Youth Justice Board (YJB)
provides a range of information on the offences committed by young
people aged 10-17 as well as on the bail/remand decision and disposals.
This is based on standardized returns from the Youth Offending
Teams (YOTs) to the YJB and is available on the practitioners'
portal within the YJB website broken down by region and by individual
YOT within this. It is potentially a very rich dataset (subject
to the caveat that the ethnic breakdowns are not available by
gender or age) and only limited analyses have been undertaken
for this paper.
The YJB data do not map readily onto the police statistics
in two particular ways; and these are worth clarifying before
looking at any further insights the YOT data offer the inquiry.
In the first place, there appears consistently to be a shortfall
between the number of "cautions" the police record and
the number of young people known to the YOTs who have been subject
to any form of "Pre-court decisions"' (ie police reprimands
and final warnings). The figures in Table 4 are taken from the
s95 publication, in view of the absence of age-related disposal
data from two of the four police forces who responded to the inquiry's
request for further information. They therefore refer to the financial
year 2004-05; but the information we received from Greater Manchester
shows a similar picture for 2005-6, when the police recorded 8,682
cautions of 10-17 year olds whereas the YOT total for pre-court
decisions was 4,717.
Pre-court disposals of young people aged 10-17 2004-05
Police vs YOT data
If, as appears to be the case, the youth justice system is
unaware of significant numbers of young people dealt with by the
police, this may of itself be a particular matter of concern.
This is not least because, inasmuch as they are eligible for this
type of disposal, manyif not mostof the young people
in question may be first time entrants to the system; but this
might imply that some young people who have already been reprimanded
or warned by the police for an offence only come to the attention
of the YOT once they have re-offended. That is, they may miss
out on being included in relevant programmes to prevent their
becoming further involved in crime.
The second area of apparent mismatch between the police figuresand,
in particular, those published by the Home Officeis that
a substantial number of young people known to the YOTs have received
disposals for what appear to be non-notifiable offences (see Figure
31). These will include the various breach categories, several
offences within the "criminal damage" and "public
order"' categories, as well as many "motoring offences"
(as distinct from vehicle theft). The latter account for a significant
number of the offences which bring young people into the system
and they will include driving without insurance, allowing oneself
to be carried in a stolen vehicle, various vehicle defects and
minor road traffic violations.
Together these imply that we have a less than complete picture
of young people of all ethnic origins at the earliest stages of
their involvement in crime and the criminal justice system. This
may mean that inter-ethnic comparisons are less reliable than
has been assumed;
but, importantly, it may also be an obstacle to effective early
intervention and limit the scope for evaluating the effectiveness
of preventative work. These factors may also help to explain why
the YJB figures give an impression of `disproportionality' which
is far less stark than the picture considered thus far. Figure
30 suggests that Black young people are represented within the
juvenile justice system at about twice the rate of their presence
in the population at large and that there is no overrepresentation
of the Mixed group.
Patterns of offending
The YJB data routinely present figures for "Black"
young people separately from an omnibus "Mixed" category.
Overall, they confirm that there are not only patterns of ethnic
differences in the offences for which young people come to the
attention of the criminal justice system but also important area
Offence characteristics of 10-17 year olds subject to
Figure 31b. Greater Manchester
Figure 31c. Nottinghamshire
Figure 31d. West Midlands
A common feature is the overrepresentation of the Black group
in the robbery figures; but this still accounts for only a minority
of all the offences for which this group was subject to disposals.
Added to this (although the numbers are smaller still) is an overrepresentation
for drugs offences relative to other groups, especially in Nottinghamshire.
White young people, by contrast, are much more likely to have
entered the system as a result of anti-social behaviour related
offences such as criminal damage and public order. The Mixed group
often occupies an intermediate position between the two but tends
to be more comparable with White people in the relatively high
proportion of cases involving motoring offences in all areas.
Finally, the higher proportion of young people supervised by the
YOTs in Greater Manchester for breaches of statutory orders may
reflect the much higher than average use of ASBOs in that city.
However, the proportion who are breached is noticeably higher
for the Mixed group than for White young people in the West Midlands.
Remands and disposals
The YJB figures provide a stark picture of ethnic differences
at opposite ends of the disposal spectrum, which is broadly consistent
across all areas (Figure 32). Not only is the Black group less
likely to receive a pre-court disposal and more likely to be sentenced
to custody, this is even more true of the Mixed group, despite
(as noted above) the fact that their offending profiles are more
similar to those of White young people in the system.
Of those not dealt with pre-court, a higher proportion of
both Black and Mixed heritage young people are remanded in custody
(Figure 33)a fact which, of itself, will increase the likelihood
of a custodial sentence if they are found guilty.
These YJB figures do not provide any further breakdown for
disposals by offence type; and still less is it possible to take
account of other potentially relevant variables, such as seriousness
within offence type, age and previous convictions. However, in
addition to their greater likelihood of being sentenced to custody,
both Black and Mixed heritage young people tend to receive longer
custodial sentences; and this figure is boosted by the higher
proportion who are sentenced under section 90 and 91 powers which
apply in cases where an adult would receive at least 14 years
Finally, it is only in the context of custody that information
provided specially to the inquiry by the YJB provides some insight
into the ethnic make-up of the Mixed heritage group. So the picture
in Figure 35 may be accurate only for the minority of young people
convicted of the most serious offences. However, it does suggest
that people of Caribbean group account for a higher proportion
of young Black people in custody than would be expected from their
presence in the population at large, while individuals of White
and Caribbean heritage predominate among the `Mixed' young offenders
sentenced to custody.
6. ISSUES RAISED
The analyses made possible by the additional information
provided by the four forces have clarified a number of issues
of particular relevance to the inquirynot least insofar
as their figures included age and BCU-level breakdowns which are
often unavailable in the published data. In addition, the Committee
may wish to consider four more general issues, the first two of
which are related.
Firstly, it is evident that, in principle, police forces
themselves have sufficient ethnic data to explore some of the
possible reasons for the overrepresentation of young Black people
within their own force area. That is, they should be able to use
their data to monitor whether there are any prima facie areas
for concern for the forcewhether in terms of officer decision-making
or the impact of force operational practicesand then to
pinpoint exactly where within the force these may be occurring.
Qualitative approaches will then be needed to follow these up
and, as necessary, take any remedial action. In practice, however,
drilling down into the statistics in this way soon means looking
at numbers which may be too small for reliable inter-ethnic comparisons,
even in areas where the total numbers, force-wide are fairly large.
This should not preclude any force from adopting this type of
approach, though; for where the numbers are small, this would
make it possible to compare individual cases on a like-for-like
It is by no means evident, however, that forces have been
using their data in this way, despite the fact that they have
now been required to keep ethnic statistics on specified items
for over ten years. Ironically, many appear routinely to be adding
an ethnic marker to other statistics as well; yet if ethnicity
has not been recorded in a high proportion of cases, this simply
seems a waste of effort. Especially where the `not known' category
is very much larger than the total for minorities, any attempt
to analyse the figures could produce seriously misleading results.
The issue of missing data is of particular concern with regard
to items where forces are actually required by the Home Office
to keep ethnic informationthough in the case of police
searches this may be an unhelpful side effect of the requirement
to use self-classification and additionally to record stops.
Secondly, the figures provided by the four forces have illustrated
some broad, general patterns (many of which were already known);
but they have also highlighted important local differences. These
include differences in the composition of the "Black"
population and the ways in which this is itself changing over
time, as well as differences in the impact of policing practice
on local populations which may have specific implications for
young Black people. At the same time, they have also highlighted
apparent area differences in patterns of offending by young people
which are reflected in the local patterns of offending by different
This adds to the importance of forces taking ownership of
exploring their own data in the light of local circumstances and
the force's particular policies and practices. At the same time,
these grounded understandings of what is happening to different
groups of young Black people need to feed upwards to inform guidance
on policy and practice from the Home Office, ACPO, HMIC etc. For
national, one-size-fits-all approaches may not be relevant to
many local situations and it is even arguable that these may further
be counter-productive, especially if they appear to take away
any local responsibility for exercising quality control over the
data in order to analyze and use them. It seems highly likely
that in many areas, s95 data are seen simply as figures which
have to be collected to meet a Home Office requirement, albeit
in a context where the Home Office has set great store on reducing
disproportionality as an end in itself without first exploring
with any rigour the many factors which contribute to disproportionality
and the relative importance of each, including many socio-economic
and demographic factors which significantly impact on the likelihood
of different groups coming to the attention of the criminal justice
system and over which the police themselves have no influence.
Yet, as the Home Office itself has acknowledged to the Committee,
this has left police forces without any idea of what the figures
should look like; for, even if they themselves were behaving fairly
towards all sections of the local population, the police would
still come across some groups within that population more than
others both as victims of crime and as suspects.
Unsurprisingly in these circumstances, levels of disproportionality
have proved intractable over the past decade, despite huge investments
in training, tightening of procedures and lots of centralized
guidance, especially with regard to stop and search, since these
have all been premised on an assumption that disproportionality
has largely been driven by conscious or unconscious discrimination
on the part of the police. New approaches are needed to understanding
the reasons for disproportionality which, as this paper has illustrated,
are likely to be complex and may vary by area. Only in this way
will it be possible to identify and isolate whether, how and where
discrimination is contributing to the overall level of disproportionality
and to take any necessary action. And this will require local
forces to take the lead.
Thirdly, the Youth Justice Board figures, when juxtaposed
with the police data, have highlighted the fact that the published
s95 figures give an incomplete picture of what is happening to
young people of different ethnic origins as they first enter the
criminal justice system. They also suggest the need for improvement
in the exchange of information between the police and local YOTs
on this age range. Unless both of these issues are addressed,
it will inhibit any coherent approach to prevention and diversion
in this critical age range.
In addition, while the data available from the Youth Justice
Board are very rich, their potential for informing policy and
practice with regard to minorities will remain limited unless
it is possible additionally to analyse them taking account of
relevant variablesin particular age, gender and offence
type/seriousness within the broad categories used in the published
figures. Some YOTs (as the Committee's visit to Southwark illustrated)
have taken this approach within their own local data and, as with
the police, all should be encouraged to do so. However, the Board
itself needs to have this information and to use it intelligently
if it is to develop a coherent approach to understanding the reasons
for any ethnic differences within the youth justice system and
to monitoring the effectiveness of any interventions to address
Consideration also needs to be given to the reasons for and
implications of the lower levels of disproportionality in the
YJB data compared to the police statistics which are more commonly
cited in this context. One possible reason suggested above is
that the picture may look different when non-notifiable offences
are included. The fact that both Black and Mixed heritage young
people have disproportionately worse outcomes once they are in
the system may in part be because they are more likely to be subject
to disposals for notifiable offences than their White peers (although
this could only be established if further breakdowns were available
within the main offence categories, as suggested above). However,
another factor may be that the YJB figures are more likely to
reflect the number of individuals of different ethnic origins
within the juvenile justice system at any given time.
For an important caveat about the police data which is often overlooked
(including in earlier sections of this paper) is that these count
incidents not individuals. In practice the same individual may
show up in the same set of search and arrest statistics more than
once within a 12 month period; and this may tend especially to
be the case for individuals who are already "known"
to the police. In other contexts it has become a commonplace to
assert that most crime is committed by a relatively small group
of individuals. So if there are any significant ethnic differences
in the numbers of "repeaters", this too could give a
misleading impression of the level of "disproportionality".
Importantly, if the search and arrest figures are indeed
inflated for some groups by a disproportionate number of repeaters,
this would not only raise possible questions about policing practice.
It would also imply that discussing these ethnic statistics as
if they referred to individuals may have a distorting effect on
perceptions of the group as a whole, both within the police service
and in the public at large. Over time, especially as the considerable
investment in reducing "disproportionality" appears
to have had no impact, there is a real danger that the published
figures will simply reinforce negative stereotypes of criminality
among Black young people in general which, as has repeatedly been
referred to in their testimony to the Committee, is understandably
a major cause of resentment.
This, in turn, adds weight to the need for better quality
ethnic data, as well as for more intelligent approaches to analysing
and using it both nationally and locally. In addition to identifying
the weaknesses in what currently exists and the scope for improvement,
this paper also serves to illustrate its considerable unrealised
Visiting Professor of Criminology
Kent Crime and Justice Centre, University of Kent
21 March 2007
The West Midlands police, unlike the other forces, did not provide
population figures using the full 16 point Census classification,
including only a composite "Mixed" group which will
include unknown numbers of White-Asian and other Mixed heritage
individuals. The figures shown in Table 1, therefore, are taken
from the 2001 Census for the West Midlands Metropolitan district
where the Black population forms a somewhat lower proportion of
the total (2.8%) than in the figures provided by the police (3.7%).
It is probably safe to assume, though, that the internal composition
of the force's Black population is broadly similar to that shown
in Table 1. Back
Greater Manchester supplied a full ethnic breakdown only for
local authorities within the force area; but the Manchester City
Council area (which covers over half of the force's total Black
population) is covered by three BCUS-North Manchester, Metropolitan
and South Manchester). Back
In this context it is worth noting that the "Airport"
division in Greater Manchester and Heathrow in London are two
examples of the "pure" case of BCUs which contribute
to the crime totals for the force but effectively have no resident
Data from the MPS, however, suggest that the allocation of uniformed
officers is slightly lower than might be expected in Hackney and
Lambeth which are two of the boroughs with the largest Black populations. Back
There is no record, for example, in the Black female category
of the case of Danielle Beccan who was shot dead in October 2004
and whose murder featured prominently in the national press. Back
These exclude the victims of Harold Shipman. Back
For the purposes of analysis here, only the "Black"
figure has been used; but this necessarily under-estimates the
experience of Black people in Manchester relative to the other
forces since a high proportion of the "Mixed" group
will also be Black and their inclusion might be expected to add
up to 40% to the Black total (see Table 1). Back
No further analyses are included for Nottinghamshire in this
section of the report, in view of the much smaller numbers in
Nottinghamshire, the fact that their data were received later
and some unresolved queries about the search tables. Back
The White arrest rate in London seems improbably high and may
provide support for the anecdotal evidence for one aspect of the
fall off in recording quality referred to earlier which may, in
turn, have implications for "disproportionality". Sources
in different forces have spontaneously suggested to me that officers
have now reverted to recording more conscientiously those searches
where they feel they may be open to scrutiny. This tends to include
those which involve minorities and/or which result in some further
action. Those which are less likely to be recorded, therefore,
will include searches of White people which do not result in an
arrest and where officers may feel less vulnerable to complaint. Back
In my study of searches in London in 1999, I asked for checks
to be conducted on a large sample of s1 searches which had not
resulted in an arrest to see whether the individuals targeted
had any criminal record. An equal proportion of both Black and
White subjects of these searches (50%) were not known ever to
have offended. Back
The publication does not make clear whether the s1 arrest data
are similarly limited to notifiable offences. However, if-as seems
likely-they also include non-notifiable offences, their contribution
to these published arrest figures will be even more modest. Back
In the case of Greater Manchester and Nottinghamshire account
must additionally be taken of the "Mixed" group for
whom arrests figures were given separately; so the population
figure for Black people in Figure 20 is based only on the main
Black groups. In Greater Manchester these accounted for 3.3% of
arrestees, compared to 1.3% of the population; and the figures
in Nottinghamshire were 3.3% compared to 1.2%. Back
Thus the MPS provided comprehensive data on everyone who passed
through the force's custody suites in 2005-06, including people
who had not been arrested-for example because they were en route
to or from prisons or had been taken to police stations as a "place
of safety". Of those who had been arrested, by no means all
had a recorded disposal, in part because final decisions may not
yet have been made or entered onto the system at the time the
figures were provided. Back
This may to some degree be affected by the much higher numbers
of cases with no recorded disposal in the MPS data. Back
This could not be done using the aggregate data provided for
the purposes of the current paper, detailed though that is. It
would require analysis of the detailed information in a sample
of individual cases. Back
A further complication in this context is that many of the figures
cited refer to incidents (whether of stop/search, arrest or disposal)
but they are discussed as if they related to individuals. This
point is discussed further in the concluding section of the paper. Back
In practice, of course, it is possible for a young person to
re-offend and re-enter the system in the same year; and those
shown as "breaches" will de facto tend to be
double counted. So too will young people on orders of more than
a year, or whose order spans two years since they will show up
in the totals for successive years. For this reason, it would
also be useful for the YJB to present figures for new entrants
to the system in any given year, as with the prison statistics
which show "admissions" separately from the prison population. Back