Select Committee on Home Affairs Written Evidence


25.  Memorandum submitted by the Home Office

SUMMARY

  The introduction sets out our approach to the written evidence and explains the work of the CJS Race Unit and Office for Criminal Justice Reform (OCJR). We highlight some of the key experiences that young Black people have of the CJS and discuss the difficulties around identifying and understanding all the different factors that lead to their disproportionate representation in the CJS and affect their confidence in it. We discuss how CJS agencies are working together to create a fair CJS and look at issues around data collection.

  Having looked at the experiences of young Black people we demonstrate how the CJS is tackling disproportionate representation of young Black people in the system, through Government targets, commitments and specific policy initiatives. We highlight the positive changes made over time to improve equality and fairness in the CJS. We also touch on the demographic and socio-economic factors outside the CJS which can contribute to the disproportionate representation of young Black people in the system eg health, education and employment. The submission makes it clear that it is too simplistic to characterise the disproportionate representation of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups as simply "overrepresentation" as a result of discrimination. Rather it needs to be understood as a complex dynamic of historic discrimination and over-policing, coupled with relative social and economic disadvantage, and related offending.

  We include data to illustrate young Black people's experience of the CJS.

  Taking into account the complexity of issues surrounding young Black people and the CJS, we end with a conclusion which reiterates the Government's commitment to providing a fair CJS.

INTRODUCTION

  1.  We want to build a society where there are equal opportunities for all. An essential part of that is a criminal justice system (CJS) which promotes equality; doesn't discriminate against anyone because of their race; has a workforce that is representative of the population at all levels and is effective in rooting out and tackling racism and racist crime. Young Black people currently have a different experience of the CJS. For example, they are more likely to be stopped and searched on the streets. We cannot say we have a transparent and fair CJS for all until we can demonstrate that all Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities, including young Black communities, experience no unjustified discrimination.

  2.  We have made enormous progress in recent years:

    —  We have strengthened the legal framework against discrimination.

    —  There have been significant decreases in the proportions of BME people who think that they would be treated worse by each of the police, the prison service, the courts and the Crown Prosecution Service.[160]

    —  We have improved diversity training and toughened up our recruitment processes to make sure racists can't get into the police. This has resulted in a reduction in racist cultures across the police.

    —  The CJS is much more representative of the communities it serves.

    —  We have taken action to understand and address the disproportionate representation of people from Black and other minority ethnic communities at key stages of the criminal justice process—in particular the use of Stop and Search where we now have a robust process in place to reduce disproportionality and increase BME community confidence in the use of the power.

    —  We have made significant progress in how we investigate and prosecute hate crime.

    —  We have increased engagement and consultation with local communities.

    —  We have created a new Independent Police Complaints Commission.

  3.  But we are not complacent and have a lot to do:

    —  People from BME communities, including young Black people continue to have a different experience of the criminal justice process—we need to do more to address this.

    —  There is still a gap between the confidence of people from BME communities and white people that they will be treated fairly by the CJS.

    —  Despite progress and with exceptions, there is more to be done to improve the recruitment, retention and progression of people from BME communities.

    —  There are still gaps in the information that is collected about ethnicity in the CJS.

  4.  We recognise that we can only make real improvements to the services we provide to all communities by working collaboratively and constructively across all the agencies that make up the CJS and beyond. We work within the framework provided by Improving Opportunity, Strengthening Society (IOSS)—the first ever cross departmental strategy to increase community cohesion and race equality. It brings together practical measures across Government to improve opportunities for all in Britain—helping to ensure that a person's race or ethnicity is not a barrier to their success. A key point highlighted in the IOSS and being actively addressed across the CJS is the PSA 2 target of "reassuring the public, reducing the fear of crime and anti-social behaviour and building confidence in the CJS without compromising fairness" and within that a specific element to address BME perceptions of unfairness by the five CJS agencies.

  5.  In structuring the submission, we look to provide an overview of the initiatives that we have in place and that we are developing to improve how our services are delivered to BME communities, including young Black people. We look at our successes and explore where we still need to do more. We include a brief consideration of socio-economic factors outside the CJS that impact on young Black people's interaction with the CJS.

WORKING TOGETHER TO CREATE A FAIR AND JOINED-UP CJS

  6.  Reflecting our commitment to a joined up CJS, this submission encompasses the work being undertaken by the Home Office (including the views of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS)), the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) and has been drawn together by the CJS Race Unit in the Office for Criminal Justice Reform (OCJR).

  7.  The OCJR is the cross-departmental organisation that supports all criminal justice agencies in working together to provide an improved service to the public. It supports the CJS in England and Wales through the major reform process in which it is involved, with the aim of bringing more offenders to justice and improving services to victims and the public. Forty-two Local Criminal Justice Boards (LCJBs) lead local action, and the Home Office, DCA and Law Officers' Departments lead the reform process jointly at national level, through the National Criminal Justice Board. The CJS Race Unit leads on cross CJS-wide work on Race. It has a central role in monitoring the delivery of the PSA target for BME equal treatment in the CJS.

  8.  The work that is undertaken through the OCJR obviously overlaps and complements that being taken forward by the Youth Justice Board (YJB). Preventing offending by children and young people has been a key priority for the Government and the YJB began work in September 1998 to provide a clearer national framework for local action. Youth Offending Teams provide the local structures to tackle youth offending and they now have action plans in place to achieve equal treatment at local level for comparable offences by different ethnic groups. This will involve the delivery of targeted activity that is aimed at reducing local differences. This approach provides a challenge to the continuing disproportionate representation of young Black men in the CJS. Reflecting their status as a Non-Departmental Public Body, the YJB is responding separately to the inquiry and will set these initiatives out in more detail. However, due to common core messages this response does make some references to the youth justice system.

DATA

  9.  In approaching this submission, we have interpreted "young" as including men and women under the age of 25. Ethnic monitoring in CJS agencies relies on a variety of recording methods and classifications. Since 1 April 2003, a standard system of recording has been introduced into all agencies, based on self-classification into one of 16 categories used in the 2001 census. Classification is based around five main groups: White, Mixed, Black, Asian and Other. The change to self classification has been challenging and there are gaps in the data we capture—we are not able to disaggregate all CJS data by age. Throughout this response we have highlighted where information is relevant to young people only and specified gender where appropriate.

  10.  The majority of the data used in this submission is published under Section 95 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991. The data we have used relates to the period 2003-04. The most recent 2004-05 race statistics collected under Section 95 have been withdrawn from the public domain as some of the data published was incorrect. The Home Office has apologised for this and is working to resolve these problems. But this does emphasise the importance of ensuring we have accurate and complete data to drive change and that the data we collect on race and ethnicity needs to be improved. Indeed, the CJS Race Unit was set up with the objective of improving the value of BME criminal justice statistics. To that end, OCJR has conducted a Root and Branch Review of race data in the CJS.

  11.  It recognised that there are gaps in the data and a lack of clarity on how this data should be owned and used to drive up performance locally. For example, in magistrates' courts, monitoring of ethnic appearance of those appearing in courts during 2003-04 was only possible in one-fifth of cases. However, some important BME data is much more complete. For example, in the key areas of: stop and search, prison receptions, arrests and cautions. There is commitment across the CJS to improving and using Section 95 data. It is universally recognised by practitioners that the publication of national data on race and the CJS is useful and desirable and could potentially be a powerful tool in improving performance on BME issues. Working collaboratively with CJS agencies, OCJR is currently drawing up plans to improve data collection over the next 2-3 years.

THE EXPERIENCE OF YOUNG BLACK PEOPLE AND THE CJS

  12.  The data tells us that Black people have a different experience of the CJS compared with White people. Evidence shows people from BME groups continue to be disproportionately represented in the CJS. For example:

    —  Black people are just over six times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police than White people, though this may reflect the fact that three-quarters of such searches are in London;[161]

    —  Black people are three times more likely to be arrested than White people;[162]

    —  Excluding foreign nationals, Black people are five times more likely to be in prison than White people;[163]

    —  In 2003-04 relative to the population as a whole, Black people were over three times more likely to be arrested than white people;

    —  Combining data from all police force areas a greater proportion of White defendants (78%) were found guilty in the Crown Court in 2003 than Black (73%).

  13.  It is too simple to conclude that disproportionate representation indicates higher levels of criminality or discrimination. The Offending, Crime and Justice Survey showed that levels of self-reported offending in the last year were generally higher in White respondents compared with Black respondents. Looking at men between the ages of 10 and 25, White respondents were more likely to have offended in the last year than Black respondents (28% compared to 15%), and they were also more likely to be classed as serious or frequent offenders.

  14.  The survey also found differences in self-reported contact with the CJS across ethnic groups. Whilst some of these differences could be accounted for by differences in self-reported offending levels, not all could. Taking into account previous offending behaviour, Black people who have offended in their lifetime were more likely to have had contact with the CJS than White people who had offended in their lifetime.[164]

  15.  BME youth have higher levels of representation in the Youth Justice System and self report higher levels of offending. Black young people make up 3% of the youth population, but commit 10% of recorded drug offences and 26% of robberies.[165] The findings of the Mori Youth Survey[166] suggest that, among young people in mainstream schools, a higher proportion of Black pupils have committed an offence in comparison to their White or Asian peers. These statistics differ from previous data discussed above. These discrepancies may be attributable to differences in sampling, for example the number of persons interviewed, how they were selected and how representative the sample is of the population from which the respondents are drawn.

  16.  A review of the evidence on the involvement of different ethnic groups in crime concluded that there was no clear picture on offending patterns because of methodological and conceptual difficulties.[167]

  17.  It is also difficult to analyse changes over time. Recording and reporting methods have changed and some data is incomplete, so it is not possible to make anything but general observations. Moreover focusing on the experience of young Black people makes analysis even more prone to error. However, we can say, that the levels of disproportionate representation of young Black people in the CJS have changed little overtime, even when changes in population and recording practices are taken into account. For example, young Black people are disproportionately represented compared with White people for robbery offences. These patterns are similar to those evident since 2001. In 1997-98 Black people were, on average, five times more likely to be stopped and searched than White people. In 2004-05 the rate was six times.

  18.  Due to the complexity of the relationship between race, ethnicity and crime and the lack of reliable data, we are unable to say with confidence whether people are being treated differently by the system because of their ethnic group or why disproportionality occurs. There are factors external to the CJS that impact disproportionately on BME communities and contribute to shaping their interaction with the CJS. This would include the fact that BME communities face significant socio-economic disadvantage and their experiences of crime and criminal justice are inextricably linked to that. For example, historic disadvantages experienced in education, housing and health are all factors that are in part predictive of offending behaviour and general involvement in the criminal justice process. Differences in the extent and nature of disadvantage are linked to historically structured experiences after migration and in the subsequent three or four decades. Direct, indirect and institutionalised discrimination have also contributed to these unequal outcomes.

  19.  Some BME groups are comparatively young. Within the broad category of Black, some groups, specifically Black African and those classified as Black other have relatively young age profiles when compared with White groups.[168] Disproportionality may also be affected by this younger age profile.[169] Whilst this submission concentrates on the experience of Black people and the CJS (where possible disaggregated by age), it is worth highlighting that many of the issues that affect young Black people will also impact on young Asian people. For example, in 2003-04 young Asian people were 1.9 times more likely to be stopped and searched than White people.

  20.  Young Black people's interaction with the CJS as offenders is only part of the picture. Young Black people also have contact with services as victims and as potential and actual employees. It is clear that as victims they have a different, and often poor, experience. This allied to contact that they may have through Stop and Search, will be a major driver of trust and confidence in the CJS and willingness to seek employment in services or to volunteer.

CONFIDENCE IN THE CJS

  21.  The Government has set a strategic goal of delivering a CJS in which the public has confidence in its effectiveness and ability to serve all communities fairly. In order to embed that principle the Government has adopted a PSA target "Reassure the public, reducing the fear of crime and anti-social behaviour, and building confidence in the Criminal Justice System (CJS) without compromising fairness." The PSA2(e) target specifically aims to reduce the percentage of people from BME communities who believe they will be treated worse by one or more CJS agency compared to the baseline year of 2001. All CJS agencies are currently involved in developing a national delivery plan to meet this target. They continually scrutinise their policies and standards, performance, staff development and training to ensure excellent service delivery to BME people. Achieving this target is dependant on LCJB action and activity and consequently a "Fairness and Equality in the CJS toolkit" has been issued to all LCJBs. This toolkit assists LCJBs in developing priorities and actions at local level to deliver justice fairly and effectively and to meet the needs of the BME communities.

  22.  There have been significant decreases over the period in the proportions of people from BME groups who feel that they would be treated worse by each of the police, the prison service, the courts and the CPS. The organisation considered to be discriminatory on grounds of race by the largest proportion of people from BME groups is the police (24%), followed by the prison service (17%). Encouragingly, the proportions thinking that the police and prison service are discriminatory have decreased significantly since 2001. The proportions for the courts and the CPS have also fallen over the period. However, we cannot be complacent. Our target has not yet been met and work is progressing to ensure that BME people are confident that they will be treated fairly by the CJS. The picture is also less positive if we separate out the specific views of young Black men. Forty-four percent of Black males aged 16-24 believed they would be treated worse than people of other races by the police, against 27% of BME males and only 5% of White males.[170]

  23.  Recent Home Office studies have found that Black and mixed race 16-24 year olds have lower levels of trust in the police and the courts compared to older people.[171] Young Black people's confidence in the CJS is low and evidence as to what influences their confidence levels is limited. However, from the evidence available the key factors include:

    —  The nature and quality of personal experience of the CJS, in particular the police, as contact is associated with perceptions of discrimination. This particular emphasis on the police reflects greater contact with police in comparison to other CJS agencies and that subsequently people are more likely to hold some view about them.

    —  Perception and attention of media.

    —  Creating a dialogue by the provision of information, by and on the CJS to develop community engagement. It is known that the provision of information and increased knowledge of the CJS improves perception of satisfaction and competence. We therefore assume that it should also have an effect on perceptions of fairness, particularly when linked with greater engagement.

    —  Employment levels in the CJS agencies to be representative of the BME population as a measure to increase confidence.

  24.  Whilst the relationship between the CJS and BME groups is complex, the Government is determined that the CJS must be rigorous in ensuring that any disproportionality is not the result of discriminatory practices. Our policy thrust focuses on how we can improve service delivery to all BME groups, but we recognise that there are issues that are likely to impact most on young BME people including young Black people. The following section sets out the range of work we have underway to address these drivers, both in the context of the CJS and the wider demographic and socio-economic factors.

NARROWING THE GAPS—IMPROVING SERVICES WE PROVIDE TO YOUNG BLACK PEOPLE.

  25.  We are making progress. We have strengthened the legal framework against race discrimination. It is 40 years since our first Race Relations legislation. The Race Relations Act 1976 made direct and indirect racial discrimination unlawful. The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 was the most far reaching reform of race law in Britain for 30 years. The UK now has the most comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation in Europe. But more than creating the framework we have undertaken a number of concrete measures which are having a positive impact on young Black people's experience of the CJS.

  26.  Our community engagement work is helping to ensure that young Black voices are being heard when we develop policy. Work being undertaken on Stop and Search is providing the police with practical measures to ensure that unfair disproportionality is rooted out. We recognise that the journey to develop fair services to all is not over. We cannot ensure equal treatment overnight, but we can, and do work to ensure that we are narrowing differences in how the CJS is experienced by all communities.

STOP AND SEARCH ACTION TEAM (SSAT)

  27.  Black people have a higher relative risk of being stopped and searched than White people in England and Wales. Studies have shown that the disproportionate Stops & Searches of Black people can be influenced by age, for example, where the Black population in an area is younger than the White population.[172] The latest PACE monitoring information (Dec 2005) shows that Stop and Search powers were predominately used on those under the age of 25.[173] However this factor cannot explain the national levels of disproportionate representation. The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report highlighted the problem of disproportionality, and indicated that discrimination was a major factor. Research has pointed to: racial stereotyping by the police[174] and the stopping of Black people on more speculative grounds compared to White people.[175]

  28.  More recent work has shown that officers' suspicions are aroused by a range of factors including appearance (eg clothing, being out of place), behaviour ("suspicious activity"), time and place (which affected expectations about what was normal behaviour) and information and intelligence (eg suspect descriptions).[176] These suspicions can result from wider generalisations, which have the potential to alienate the public and develop into negative stereotypes.

  29.  In 2004 the then Home Secretary stated that the disproportionate use of the power was too high, that it had to fall and so established the Stop and Search Action Team (SSAT) who were tasked to "ensure that Stop and Search as a police power is used fairly and effectively as possible in the prevention and detection of crime. Specifically to reduce disproportionality and increase BME community confidence in the use of the power". The team was also required to implement Recommendation 61 of the Macpherson Report which required the recording of stops in addition to searches.

  30.  The SSAT works through a Delivery board chaired by Doreen Lawrence which comprises all the key statutory agencies, and a Community panel chaired by Lord Victor Adebowale and formed of representatives from a broad range of community groups.

  31.  The work of the team has included the introduction of the recording of all stops; the production of a manual for forces which identifies the key reasons for disproportionality and an action plan to remove inappropriate disproportionality; draft Practice Guidelines (minimum standards) on the use of Stop and Search; publication of a community manual on the use of the power; launch of an information campaign, including a dedicated web-site and multi-lingual phone lines aimed at young people in eight areas on the rights of individuals and the beginnings of a research programme which looks at how police use intelligence to target stop and search.

  32.  The success of this work will be measured through the following by monitoring structures:

    —  British Crime Survey—to measure community confidence in the use of the power.

    —  Police Performance Assessment Framework—to measure arrest rates broken down by ethnicity. Quality assurance work around the consistency of this data will commence in 2006-07.

    —  S95 Race and the CJS Statistics—to measure the level of disproportionality.

    —  HM Inspector of Constabulary—force inspections and thematic inspections on race.

  33.  Alongside this work a new tool has been developed—the Practice Orientated Package, which helps to determine the causes of disproportionality. This is an innovative method for analysing the components of stop and search in order to understand where the weak links are, before suggesting solutions. This work has included a strong element of community involvement, which has been critical to identifying key conclusions around the use of the power. An important element of the community engagement has been meeting with young people in a variety of settings—ex-offenders as well as groups of young people from minority communities. Where possible the SSAT accessed these young people through events they had organised (youth clubs etc) and a number of the attendees were invited to participate in seminars with local Chief Officers to describe the impact of stop and search on them.

IMPROVING INTERACTION BETWEEN THE POLICE, THE WIDER CJS AND YOUNG PEOPLE

  34.  A principal aim of the Government's Police Reform Programme is to provide a citizen-focused service that responds to the needs of individuals and communities and inspires confidence in the police. For many people the police service will be their first and most frequent point of contact with the CJS. Neighbourhood policing puts communities own priorities and concerns at the top of the agenda. Neighbourhood Policing teams will invest time in getting to know the communities they serve, and enabling all sections of the community—including young Black people—to build productive relationships with local teams and air their issues and concerns, resulting in dialogue about how these concerns might be addressed. This approach will help the police to better understand the issues which particularly concern young Black members of any community and will provide a framework and the necessary training to enable these issues to be delivered together. Success in this area will, in part, be analysed by the Police Performance and Assessment Framework (PPAF) which contains measures of customer satisfaction, comparing the satisfaction of white and BME respondents. Reflecting the CJS' joined up approach, all other parts of the CJS have and are also developing strategies for effectively engaging with all communities.

  35.  Furthermore, race and diversity learning and development are a key element of citizen-focused policing. The Police Race and Diversity Learning and Development Programme is a major programme aimed at improving police performance in race and diversity. Forces must work to gain the trust of all sections of the community and the programme will contribute to gaining trust and confidence among diverse communities. The programme strategy makes individuals responsible for their performance in race and diversity, for improving and assessing individual, team and force performance in race and diversity—and for making a clear link between the two. Training in race and diversity will no longer be seen as separate from all other police training and development.

  36.  Inside Justice Week is a national campaign to demystify the CJS and open it up to the public through a themed week of events, media opportunities and public engagement. This year it will run from 18-25 November and is run locally by the 42 LCJBs. The key audiences will be young people (from 7-14 years), older people (55-75) and BME communities. This will provide additional emphasis for LCJBs to build relationships between young Black people and CJS agencies.

RACE HATE CRIME

  37.  In the summer of 2001, the CPS commissioned the Gus John Partnership to review the CPS' institutional practices to ensure they were not contributing in any respect either to the denial of justice or to a lack of public confidence in the system of prosecution, particularly for members of the BME groups.

  38.  Whilst the report did not provide a significant conclusion on race or gender bias, it did indicate a number of trends and tendencies that have a negative impact on the experiences of African Caribbean people who came into contact with the CPS. In particular, concerns about the way in which such offences were not always recorded early on and how the racial aspect would sometimes be neglected or dropped as part of a "plea bargaining" process.

  39.  In response to the report findings the CPS has developed a racist and religious crimes prosecution policy, framed with community partners, and commended by the National Audit Office in their study on equality and diversity in Whitehall. They have made reducing unsuccessful outcomes in racist crime cases one of their top 15 measures and to obtain this target they have trained over 1,600 prosecutors in the handling of racist and religious crimes and have lead specialists in place in each CPS area.

  40.  A joint ACPO and Home Office Hate Crime Manual Hate Crime: Delivering a quality service, which includes information on how to handle race hate crime was revised and re-published in May 2005.

  41.  A recent Hate Crimes Monitoring Project has been established to improve the electronic recording of hate crimes, including victim and defendant details to enable all data to be recorded electronically. It will also improve the public reporting of hate crime, within one standardised report. It is planned that this project will allow hate crime data to be disaggregated by age, ethnicity and disability.

  42.  The data suggests that the Government's approach is having some success. The BCS (self-reported crime) estimates that there has been a significant reduction in racially motivated incidents since the mid 1990s, while reported incidents are rising. That suggests the encouragement of all agencies and community groups for better reporting by victims and better recording by the police have been successful.

REMAND

  43.  In 2003, there was a 1% rise in the proportion of Black youths (10-17 years of age) remanded (10.1%). Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) were notified of Remand decisions on 128,875 offences in 2004-05. The main findings were that:

    —  The setting of unconditional bail did indicate disproportionality by ethnic group (46% of offences involving Black people under the age of 18 and 57% for young White people of the same age group).

    —  8.1% of Black people under 18 were remanded in custody, compared to 5.1% for Asian and 4.4% for White people of the same age group.

  44.  There is no detailed ethnicity data available on remand decisions for people over 18 though various small scale studies have suggested that Black offenders are more likely to be remanded in custody.[177] To address these issues, OCJR have established a Bail and Remand Policy Group which includes a Senior District Judge and representatives from NOMS, DCA, CPS and ACPO. The group is specifically tasked to examine the disproportionate race impact of bail decisions.

THE COURTS/SENTENCING

  45.  The DCA is involved in the "Justice and Schools" project which seeks to raise pupils' awareness and knowledge of the courts process in England and Wales. The project targets young BME people in promoting careers in the CJS.

  46.  The Magistrates Courts "Mock Trials" Competition is run by the Citizenship Foundation in partnership with the Magistrates' Association and sponsored by the DCA. The aim of this project is to raise the profile of the magistracy amongst young people through court scenario role play. The competition is open to all state funded secondary schools and aimed at students aged 12-14 years. Last year over 400 schools and approximately 4,500 students took part. This initiative does not target young Black people specifically but does welcome involvement from all surrounding communities.

  47.  The DCA is committed to increasing diversity in the judiciary through the "Increasing diversity in the judiciary" programme which seeks to determine what steps are needed to widen the pool from which applicants for judicial appointments are drawn.

  48.  The sentencing decision is probably the most complex of all those that are made in the criminal process. Sentences have to take account the nature of the offence, the plea, the offender's previous criminal history and mitigating or aggravating circumstances relating to the offence and the offender. In these circumstances it is difficult to separate differences due to ethnicity from other factors. As set out in the NOMS Five Year Strategy,[178] the Government will continue to work with judges, magistrates and other agencies of the CJS to improve the quality of recording of ethnic monitoring data. We will then ensure all those involved use that data to take action to ensure that BME offenders (including young Black people) are being treated fairly.

DIVERSITY AND THE NATIONAL OFFENDER MANAGEMENT SERVICE/PRISONS AND PROBATION

  49.  When offenders are in custody the behaviour of staff has an overwhelming impact on their lives. On 30 June 2005, there were 76,190 people in prison, prison establishments and excluding foreign nationals, the proportion of Black prisoners relative to the population was five times higher than for White people.[179]

  50.  HM Inspectorate of Prisons recently published a thematic report on Prisons—Parallel Worlds, which separated out the experience of and responses from young prisoners and those from different minority ethnic groups. Overall findings were that BME prisoners as a whole reported significantly poorer outcomes across all areas of prison life. It pointed to the need for more effective training and leadership, better monitoring and better handling of complaints. There were particular concerns about perceptions of safety among young Asian prisoners and perceptions of a lack of respect from prison staff among young Black prisoners. The report also found that young BME prisoners are more likely than White prisoners to participate in and value education.

  51.  A judicial inquiry into the death of Zahid Mubarak (who was of course a young prisoner) is due to report in June 2006. The Prison Service in response to the Inspection report has made progress with many of its recommendations. The Prison Service is currently implementing Phase 2 of the CRE/Prison Service Action Plan.

  52.  A fundamental challenge in running prisons is to ensure that order is maintained so that prisons provide a safe and controlled environment for both prisoners and staff. HMPS has developed a number of intervention strategies across several disciplines including race relations, security, training and monitoring. These include:

    —  further development of the role of the Race Relations Liaison Officer and Race Relations Management Team;

    —  more focused training on awareness, beliefs, values, decision making;

    —  further guidance to establishments on legislative obligations and conducting impact assessments;

    —  a Violence Reduction Strategy, which provides guidance to establishments on addressing racism and racially motivated violence. The violence reduction toolkit addresses this issue specifically. Cell-sharing risk assessment is an additional tool to assist in the early identification of racist or violent behaviour, and

    —  development of a robust performance monitoring and management framework for race issues in the prison estate.

  53.  Offenders in the community rely on the professionalism of staff working in the Probation Service and other organisations to give them the best possible chance of going straight. The Government recently published its Five Year Strategy for Protecting the Public and Reducing Re-offending which set out the new process of offender management which we are putting in place to link what we do in custody with what we do in the community. This will allow it to be tailored to the needs of each offender (including young people) as an individual based on a rigorous and objective assessment.

VICTIMS

  54.  The British Crime Survey (BCS) is the main source of information on victimisation, however, data is not analysed by age, because the sample size is too small. The BCS shows that White and Black people face similar levels of risks. However in the case of homicides, which are amongst the least frequent crimes in England and Wales there are wide disparities in risks for different ethnic groups. Police recorded crime data shows that Black people are five times more likely to be a victim of a homicide and Black victims are predominantly young men with a third being the victim of firearms.[180]

  55.  There is little statistical information of young Black men's experience of crime. Qualitative research[181] has been undertaken to look at the experiences of young Black men as victims of crime to help inform initiatives and raise levels of confidence. This work showed that:

    —  Young Black men had infrequent contact with formal agencies that could help victims of crime, and services need to be made more accessible to them.

    —  As with other victims, the views and attitudes of young Black men varied and services must be responsive to the needs of individuals.

    —  Support from family and friends was highly valued.

    —  Lack of confidence in the police and CJS was an important reason for not reporting the crime to the police.

    —  Young Black men who had reported a crime to the police held fairly positive views on initial contact with the police, but were more dissatisfied with follow-ups.

    —  Word of mouth is a powerful influence on beliefs about the police and therefore improving the experience of young Black victims who report crime is essential. LCJBs have prioritised improvements to victim services.

  56.  As part of the National Victims and Witness Strategy individual agencies have been tasked with identifying gaps in delivery against the Victims Code of Practice and Victims and Witnesses Delivery Plan and developing a strategy to address these gaps. The "Fairness and Equality in the CJS Toolkit" emphasises that in delivering the basic minimum standards which victims and witnesses should be able to expect from the CJS, practitioners need to understand how best to provide these to all communities.

  57.  The CPS is working towards supporting victims through its "No Witness, No Justice" programme. This is a joint initiative between the CPS, ACPO, OCJR and OPSR and is a new model of victim and witness care that is built around their needs, rather than the needs of the CJS. The programme has a particular focus on victims and witnesses of racist crime and the needs of victims and witnesses. Training has been provided on the particular needs of victims from BME communities, including young Black people.

HOMICIDE

  58.  In the three-year period ending 2003-04, the police recorded 2,605 homicides (murder, manslaughter and infanticide). Thirty-one percent of Black homicide victims were shot compared with 6% of White people.[182] Some of the concerns of Black communities about violent crime will be related to the disproportionate representation of young Black men and victims of homicide and in particular shootings.

  59.  The Home Office's Connected Fund was established in May 2004 as a simple, non-bureaucratic fund to provide grants to small voluntary groups working on gun crime, knife and gangs issues. This has proved very successful, supporting over two hundred community groups across the country in the four rounds held. A large proportion of these projects are delivered by BME community groups in areas where tackling gun and knife crime are a priority.

CREATING A MORE REPRESENTATIVE WORKFORCE

  60.  Although the workforce in the CJS has become more diverse, the negative experience and perception that young Black people have of the CJS is likely to affect their view of the organisations as employers. A workforce that reflects the society it serves can be an important driver of confidence. All CJS organisations are committed to improving the representativeness of their services and ensuring that staff from BME communities are fairly treated. Real progress has been made, and over recent years there has been a marked improvement in the representation of BME people in all grades across the CJS. Challenging targets have been set for agencies to reach full representation in relation to the proportion of their staff that belong to BME groups, by 2009.

THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIO-ECONOMIC FACTORS

  61.  Not all the reasons for young Black people's disproportionate representation within the CJS rest with the system itself. We also need to consider demographic and socio-economic factors that indicate that young Black men are more likely to experience a number of risk factors which can act as drivers of social exclusion and a reduced likelihood of making a positive contribution in society. For example, 80% of Black African and Black Caribbean communities live in Neighbourhood Renewal Fund areas.[183] Deprived areas often have the worst outcomes where health, education, employment, crime and housing are concerned. The service delivery problems and poor outcomes afflicting deprived areas and neighbourhoods often hit hardest on BME communities. It has been argued that Black Caribbean and Black African groups who are concentrated in these areas tend to be trapped as a consequence of historic patterns of discrimination in housing, limited opportunities and poor transport.183,[184] [185]

  62.  The historical experience of BME groups themselves is also likely to be an important determinant of their interaction and attitude to the CJS. For example, the relationships today between Black youths in inner cities and the police are inevitably toned by several historical factors such as:

    —  The overt discrimination to which previous generations were exposed.[186]

    —  The resultant tensions and mutual suspicion between police and Black people.[187]

    —  The limited social and economic opportunities open to these previous generations.[188]

    —  The consequent processes of social exclusions that affected later generations.[189]

  63.  A recently published report by the Institute of Public Policy Research highlighted that the poor and unemployed were twice as likely to become victims of violent crime. The report also outlined that people living in the most deprived neighbourhoods are more than twice as likely to be mugged and more than twice as likely to be "very worried" about being physically attacked as those people living in the least deprived neighbourhoods.[190] These are factors that will impact on the life experiences of young Black people. That is why our work on the CJS should be seen in the context of the framework provided by "Improving Opportunity, Strengthening Society (IOSS), the first ever cross departmental strategy to increases community cohesion and race equality.

EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT

  64.  Disproportionate numbers of Black and young people of dual White (mixed)—Black Caribbean heritage are failing to achieve five or more GCSEs at A*-C.[191] Evidence suggests that five GCSEs or NVQ level 2 is the minimum requirement for entry into skilled employment in today's labour market.[192]

Figure 1.1

PROPORTION OF YOUNG PEOPLE ACHIEVING 5 OR MORE A*-C GCSES BROKEN DOWN BY ETHNICITY.


  65.  Recently published Department for Education and Skills (DfES) GCSE figures, show an increase in Black boys' attainment, however still only a third of Black Caribbean boys gain 5 or more good GCSEs, fewer if English and Maths are included.

  66.  Black and mixed race young people are less likely to be in education, training or employment at 16. By the age of 21, such young people are more likely to be: unqualified, untrained, unemployed, earning less if employed, a parent and suffering from depression.[193]

SCHOOL EXCLUSIONS

  67.  Boys of Black and Mixed White/Black Caribbean heritage are overrepresented among permanently excluded and fixed-term excluded pupils. In 2003-04 29 in every 10,000 Black pupils were permanently excluded from school, which was around twice that for White pupils.[194]

Figure 1.2

PERMANENT EXCLUSIONS 2002-03 AS A PROPORTION OF THE SCHOOL POPULATION


  68.  Drug misuse has a common link to criminal activity. Findings from the 2001-02 BCS show no statistically significant differences in the extent of drug use amongst White, Black and Asian people. But amongst 16-24 year olds, levels of drug use were lower for Black people than for those from a White or Mixed background. Ten percent of White people in this age range had used a Class "A" drug in the last year, compared to 8% Mixed and 2% of Black people.[195] Although this shows no disproportionate representation of Black people in drug misuse in the general population, the pattern of drug misuse amongst the crime-committing population will be quite different.

  69.  Certain communities are underrepresented in drug treatment interventions. Drug treatment strategy in the community and in custody has tended to develop to support opiate-misusers and as this type of drug use is more common amongst White people, the system unintentionally discriminates against people from BME communities; particularly with young Black people, who are reported by drug treatment staff to be predominantly cocaine and cannabis-misusers, the Drug Interventions Programme focuses primarily on Class A drug treatment (heroin and cocaine). Limited community support for non-Class "A" drug misusers and under development of services for cocaine users may lead to higher levels of offending (and re-offending).

  70.  To help address this imbalance in drug treatment services, the University of Central Lancashire was commissioned by NOMS to research the experiences of BME drug misusers in custody. The report is not yet finalised, but will form the basis for a Diversity Toolkit for BME drug misusers which is due for completion in late autumn. NOMS is also working in partnership with Conference on Crack and Cocaine (COCA) to produce a cocaine treatment package.

TACKLING DEMOGRAPHIC AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC DISADVANTAGE

  71.  Some young Black people face a vicious circle of poverty, deprivation, and social exclusion, different experiences of health, housing, income and employment. Clearly some of the factors that impact on the disproportionate representation of young Black people in the CJS rest with these wider socio-economic factors. Tackling these complexities requires Government to work in a concerted manner. All Government departments have a duty under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act to embed race equality in their policies and practices through Race Impact Assessments. Detailed below are a few examples of how race equality is being embedded in policy and services to tackle the cycle of discrimination and deprivation young Black people face. The emphasis of this work is around education which is seen as key to breaking the cycle:

    —  The Home Office has recently launched an experts group called REACH, chaired by Clive Lewis (founder of the Men's Room Trust) which seeks to enable young Black men to reach their full potential. This is part of a new approach to getting the best advice on race equality and cohesion issues.

    —  Through the Connecting Communities grant programme the Home Office has funded VOIS (Voicing Our Issues and Struggles), which runs a number of projects in North London to give young Black people a voice in local affairs. This includes the Black Male Forum which provides personal development programmes for young black men.

    —  Funding has been given to Theos Hodos Ltd (National Black Boys Can Association) which aims to raise the academic and social aspirations of Black Boys aged 9-16 and to break the cycle of underachievement, unemployment, crime and imprisonment.

    —  DfES is committed to reducing the disproportionate rates of BME exclusions from school. An important part of their action plan to achieve this is the Black Pupils' Achievement Programme. Launched in October 2005 the aim of the programme is to work with Local Authorities and schools to focus on raising the attainment level of all Black pupils and supporting schools to develop leadership capacity to lead a whole school approach to raising the achievements of Black pupils.

    —  A number of Local Strategic Partnerships in the most deprived neighbourhoods in England and Wales have identified poor educational attainment of Black pupils as an area they want to tackle as part of their improvement plans.

CONCLUSION

  72.  The issues surrounding young Black people and CJS are complex. The Government is determined to continue to understand and address the causes of the disproportionate representation of different groups at each stage of the criminal justice process; the gap in confidence between Black and other ethnic minority groups and White people and the wider socio-economic factors that lead to this. This evidence has sought to set out the range of activity we are undertaking to secure our objective of a CJS which treats all communities fairly.

April 2006




160   Murphy, R, Wedlock, E & King, J (2005) Early findings from the 2005 Home Office Citizenship Survey. Back

161   Barclay, G, Munley, A & Munton, T (2005) Race and the Criminal Justice System: An overview to the complete statistics 2003-04. London: Criminal Justice System Race Unit Back

162   As above Back

163   Prison Service (2005) Offender Management Caseload Statistics quarterly brief -April to June 2005: RDS website  Back

164   Sharp, C & Budd, T (2005) Minority ethnic groups and crime: findings form the Offending, Crime and Justice Survey 2003. Home Office Online Report 33/05 Back

165   Youth Justice Board (2005) Annual Statistics 2003-04. London: Youth Justice Board Back

166   MORI (2005) Youth Survey 2004. London: Youth Justice Board for England and Wales. Back

167   Bowling, B & Phillips, C (2002) Racism, Crime and Justice. Harlow: Longman. Back

168   Census, April 2001. ONS www.statistics.gov.uk Back

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170   Murphy, R, Wedlock, E & King, J (2005) Early findings from the 2005 Home Office Citizenship Survey. Research Development and Statistics Directorate, Home Office. This report is an online report only. Back

171   Pennant, R (2005) Diversity, Trust and Community Participation in England. Research, Development and Statistics Directorate Paper 253. London: Home Office. Back

172   FitzGerald, M cited in Bowling, B & Phillips, C (2002) Racism, Crime and Justice. Harlow: Longman Back

173   Ayres, M & Murray, L (2005) Arrests for recorded Crime (Notifiable Offences) and the operation of certain police powers under PACE. RDS-Office for Criminal Justice Reform. Back

174   Smith, D J & Gray, J (1985) Police and the Public. London: Gower Back

175   Norris, C et al 1992 Black and Blue: An analysis of the influence of race on being stopped by police. British Journal of Sociology Vol 43 no 2. Back

176   Quinton, P Bland, N & Miller, J (2000) The impact of stops and searches on crime and the community. London: Research, Development and Statistics Directorate. Back

177   FitzGerald, M (1993) Ethnic minorities in the criminal justice system. Home Office Research and Statistics Department. Research Study No 20. London: HMSO Back

178   Home Office (2006) A Five Year Strategy for Protecting the Public and Reducing Re-offending. Back

179   Prison Service (2005) Offender Management Caseload Statistics quarterly brief-April to June 2005: RDS website. Back

180   Barclay, G, Munley, A & Munton, T (2005) Race and the Criminal Justice System: An overview to the complete statistics 2003-04. London: Criminal Justice System Race Unit. Back

181   Yarrow, S (2005) The Experience of Young Black Men as Victims of Crime. London: Office for Criminal Justice Reform. Back

182   Barclay, G, Munley, A & Munton, T (2005) Race and the Criminal Justice System: An overview to the complete statistics 2003-04. London: Criminal Justice System Race Unit. Back

183   ORRION-www.renewal.net/toolkits.asp (ODPM-NRU online resource) retrieved 28 March 2006 Back

184   Mason, D (2000) Race and Ethnicity in Modern Britain. Second Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Back

185   Prime Ministers Strategy Unit (2003), Ethnic Minorities and the Labour Market. London: Cabinet Unit.  Back

186   Fryer, P (1984). Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain. London, Pluto Press. Back

187   Keith, M (1993). Race, Riots and Policing: Lore and Disorder in a Multi-Racist Society. London: UCL Press. Back

188   Nazroo, J Y (1997) The Health of Britain's Ethnic Minorities: fourth national survey of ethnic minorities. London: Policy Studies Institutes. Back

189   Madood, T et al (1997) Ethnic Minorities in Britain: diversity and disadvantage-fourth national survey of ethnic minorities. London: Policy Studies Institutes. Back

190   Dixon, M, Reed, H, Rogers, B & Stone, Lucy (2006) Crime Share: the unequal impact of crime. London: IPPR. Back

191   DFES (2004) LEA Achievements at Key Stage 1 and 2, GCSE and Equivalent, Post-16 and Value Added Measures in 2004 by ethnicity and gender: www.dfes.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000564/index.shtml Back

192   HM Treasury (2004) Supporting young people to achieve: towards a new deal for skills. HMSO Back

193   MORI (2005) Youth Survey 2004. London: Youth Justice Board for England and Wales. Back

194   DFES (2005) Permanent and Fixed Period Exclusions from Schools and Exclusion Appeals in England 2003-04. www.dfes.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000582/index.shtml Back

195   Aust, R & Smith, N (2003) Ethnicity and drug use: key findings from the 2001-02 British Crime Survey. Findings 209. London: Home Office. Back


 
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