Select Committee on Home Affairs Written Evidence


26.  First supplementary memorandum submitted by the Home Office

HOME AFFAIRS COMMITTEE QUESTIONS FOR THE HOME OFFICE

1.  Where are the major gaps in information currently collected about ethnicity in the criminal justice system (CJS)?

  There are gaps in the data but we should acknowledge the areas where there are robust statistics, particularly at the beginning and end of the criminal justice process. We have detailed statistics about Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) people's interaction with the police, for example stop and search and arrest. Similarly the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) collects and uses detailed ethnicity data. The major gaps relate to the comprehensiveness of the data supplied eg court data on remand and sentencing decisions by ethnicity. Similar gaps in ethnicity data exist in relation to victims, bail status, type of sanction (charge, caution, no further action), and overall the opportunity to track offenders by ethnicity through the CJS.

2.  What are the main findings of the Root and Branch Review of race data in CJS conducted by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform (OCJR), and what action is being taken as a result of this review?

  The main findings of the Root and Branch Review are due to be published shortly. It will contain an action plan to improve race data collected across the CJS. OCJR is committed to ensuring that data is of a quality that makes it a tool to understand BME peoples' experience of the CJS, underpin service delivery and to drive performance both locally and nationally.

3.  To what extent does the Home Office aspire to systematically collect data for different ethnic groups at each stage of the criminal justice process, and by offence? How much progress has been made towards this goal?

  A key aspiration is to collect data that demonstrates that the CJS treats people from all backgrounds fairly. This work supports all CJS departments and agencies. The aim of our programme is to improve the race and criminal justice statistics and to ensure data on different ethnic groups' experiences is systematically collected at each stage of the criminal justice process and that this information is used to manage performance. This will feature as part of the implementation of the Root and Branch Review.

4.  What changes to the policy and practice of data collection and monitoring are likely to result from OCJR's work on improving data collection over the next two to three years?

  We are aiming to clarify data collection requirements and quality standards. This will be an important first step in improving the comprehensiveness, consistency and robustness of the information collected on race and criminal justice. We anticipate that these improvements will foster better ownership and use of the data by Local Criminal Justice Boards (LCJBs) and that criminal justice agencies will be better able to monitor and drive performance locally and nationally in relation to race issues.

5.  Why was monitoring of ethnic appearance of those appearing in courts during 2003-04 only possible in one fifth of cases? What action is being taken to address this information gap?

  The gap in the data is due to problems in the flow of information between CJS agencies. Her Majesty's Court Service (HMCS) is investigating the cause of these problems and possible solutions. This is also an issue for the implementation of the Root and Branch Review.

6.  Why is there no detailed ethnicity data on remand decisions for people over 18, and what plans are in place to collect statistics in this area?

  As explained above (Q5) there are problems in the flow of data between CJS agencies. Where the information is available it is processed. However, this data is statistically incomplete and could lead to inaccurate conclusions if used. The work HMCS are undertaking will help with this, as will the work of the Bail and Remand Policy Group and the implementation of the Root and Branch Review.

7.  How confident is the Home Office in the accuracy of rates "per thousand population" as a measure of disproportionality?

  Subject to the availability and/or comprehensiveness of data for the topic under investigation, the use of the census per thousand population is an accepted basis of comparison ie the standard adopted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). It reflects the actual experiences of different ethnic groups, and the effect of police practices on them. What this means, for example, is that Black people have a higher relative risk of being searched compared to White people in England and Wales irrespective of the reasons for the disparity.

  However, it is recognised that views vary about the adequacy of residential population information compared to available population information. Taking stop and search as an example, studies have shown that not all searches are recorded by the police, and have questioned the extent to which the resident population accurately reflects the profile of people "available" on the street. Studies that have looked at the influence of the public's use of space on disproportionality have suggested that the ethnic profile of those people in the public spaces where searches are used, is different to the ethnic profile of the resident population.[196]

  There are some considerations that need to be taken into account when assessing the validity of measures based on "available" populations:

    —  They tend to be based on small, local areas due to cost and methodological reasons.

    —  The "available" population cannot be a single, fixed measure because, by definition, the demographic make-up of the available population is likely varied in different areas and over time.

    —  While it may be possible to use a measure of the available population to assess whether officer decision-making on the street is ethnically biased, they do not help answer questions about why some geographic areas are targeted by the police. This is the focus of ongoing Home Office research.

  Home Office research concluded that measures based on the residential population (ie rates per thousand population) remain important. As previously mentioned, they reflect the actual experiences of different ethnic groups, and the effect of police practices on them.

8.  To what extent is the HO considering methods of identifying possible discrimination other than comparisons per thousand population—for example by analysing the reasons for any ethnic differences in rates of attrition following entry into the criminal justice system?

  There is a difference between measuring how much discrimination may exist and understanding the reasons for it. Comparisons per thousand help us to identify difference, but do not enable us to understand the reasons for it. However, the British Crime Survey (BCS) can be used to assess prevalence rather than incidence of stop and search. Current policing research examines the effectiveness of stops and searches by assessing the extent to which they are targeted against crime and incident hotspots. The demographic profile of the resident population in targeted areas will also be measured.

9.  What is the Home Office's view as to why levels of disproportionate representation of Black young people in the CJS have changed little over time?

  The factors contributing towards Black young people's disproportionate representation in the CJS are complex; experiences of crime and criminal behaviour are inextricably linked with inequality and disadvantage and Black young people face socio-economic disadvantage in comparison with their White counterparts. This was recognised in the framework provided by the Improving Opportunity, Strengthening Society Strategy (IOSS) within which the CJS works. Therefore, addressing the root causes of disproportionality in the CJS is a long term process and goes beyond simply improving practice within the system—although that is important.

10.  To what extent has the BME prison population grown at a faster rate than the prison population as a whole? What reasons are there for any differential growth?

  Between June 1994 and February 2003, the British national Minority Ethnic population in prison establishments increased from 5,510 to 10,645—up 93%; in comparison White British nationals increased from 39,241 to 51,697—up 32%. The comparable figures for the foreign national population are increases of 166% and 63% respectively.[197]

  The increase in the population mainly reflects an increase in the numbers received into prison under an immediate custodial sentence—immediate custodial sentenced receptions of Minority Ethnic British nationals increased by 98% between 1994 and 2002 compared to 42% for White British nationals.[198] Increases may also reflect differences in sentence length given, and release and recall rates.***

  These figures are based on the 1991 Census ethnicity categories. Figures for 2005 are available but not on a comparable basis—the 2001 ethnicity categories were introduced in 2003. Because of the introduction of the Mixed category particularly, comparisons should not be made with the 1991 ethnicity categories.

  However, there has been no detailed research which looks specifically at the causes behind the growth in the Minority Ethnic prison population.

11.  Has the Home Office produced any projections of the growth in the BME prison population? If so, what are the findings of these projections?

  We do not calculate or publish projections of the BME prison population. The main use for the prison population projections is to plan the future high-level requirements for prison places. The Estate Planning and Development Unit (EPDU) of NOMS use the projections to develop detailed plans for the prison estate. BME prisoners are treated as part of the total prison population. There are no plans to calculate such a projection.

  Our published projections split the total prison population into seven categories: male remand, female remand, male sentenced, female sentenced, non-criminal, total male and total female.

  The latest total prison population projections were published in July 2005.[199]

  The next projections will be published in July 2006 and will cover the years 2006-13.

12.  What work has been done, and is being done, to unravel the causes of disproportionate representation of BME groups in the CJS?

  Untangling the effects of demography, life experience and social exclusion on BME people's experience of the CJS is complicated. RDS NOMS are currently conducting work which will help identify the prevalence of risk factors and needs amongst offenders. We are undertaking four cohort studies, each examining different groups of offenders or different stages of the Criminal Justice System, which will cover custody and alternatives to custody (community sentences). The prison, community sentence and juvenile offender cohort studies will provide information on the characteristics of offenders who typically receive interventions, what combinations of interventions they receive, and which types of offenders might benefit most from particular types of intervention. The studies will include booster samples of offenders from BME groups where this is necessary to achieve appropriate sample sizes to provide data on BME offenders on an aggregate basis.

  The first part of the fourth cohort study, the court survey, aims to understand how the courts reach sentencing decisions through examining a range of offences from a nationally representative sample of courts. Subject to the quantity and quality of ethnicity data held in court files, (see answer to Q5), the survey will provide data for BME offenders on an aggregate basis to compare how courts deal with BME offenders.

13.  How does the Practice Oriented Package work? What indications are available of its success to date in determining the causes of disproportionality in Stop and Search?

  The "Practice Oriented Package" (POP) is a method for analysing the components of stop and search in order to understand the drivers for disproportionality in individual forces. The package recognises that there may be justified, as well as unjustified reasons for the disproportionate use of stop and search.

  The work has been completed in six forces by a central team who have also trained staff in four further forces to complete the work themselves.

  The work follows a six-stage process that culminates in the production of a template that outlines the causes of disproportionality and, where appropriate, the remedial action required. The six-stage process is as follows:

    1.  Collation and detailed analyses of Stop and Search data broken down into various fields. For example time, day, location, reason for stop, powers used, age, gender, ethnicity, driver or pedestrian and outcome.

    2.  Community seminars which focus on assessing the impact of the use of the power

    3.  Meeting with the chief officer(s) of each force to discuss the proposed seminars and subsequent work "on the ground" to secure his/her permission to do the work in their force.

    4.  Policy seminars held with chief officers and senior staff in force to find out whether there is a policy drive for the use of the tactic within that force.

    5.  Practitioner seminars with constables, sergeants and inspectors. The aim with these seminars was to discuss with operational officers the factors that informed their decision to use the powers. In addition, to discover the link, if any, between espoused policy governing the use of stop and search and the decision-making process by operational officers.

    6.  Over a one month period work on a Basic Command Unit looking closely at factors that could affect the effectiveness of stop and search, such as the analyses and use of intelligence and quality of briefing given to officers.

  Each of the templates devised were part of a confidential report to the relevant Chief Constable and used to populate a generic template which appeared in the Home Office Stop and Search Manual.

  Disproportionality was seen to fall in two of the forces who subsequently used the template. Other forces used the findings to assist them in informing local residents as to the causes of disproportionality.

14.  To what extent has the Stop and Search Action Team (SSAT) achieved its objectives?

  The outcomes for success identified were:

    —  Increased BME confidence in the use of stop and search.

    —  A reduction in the headline disproportionality figures of 6:1 Black and 3:1 Asian stop and searches compared with white (2002-03).[200]

    —  Increased officer confidence in the use of stop and search.

    —  Improved understanding of the concept of disproportionality in the use of stop and search.

    —  Improved understanding of effectiveness in the use of stop and search.

  The success measures that will be used are:

    —  BCS for BME community confidence. From 2005-06 wider confidence measures in how fairly stop and search is used has been added. The results will not be available until late 2006.

    —  Section 95 statistics are used to measure disproportionality. This year's figures are not currently available however, last year's figures showed no rise in disproportionality against the Black population and a modest decrease in the rate of disproportionality against the Asian population.

    —  Police Performance Assessment Framework is being used to assess the percentage of Stops and Searches which lead to an arrest broken down by ethnicity. The first tranche of reports have been produced.

  It has always been recognised that significant progress in these areas will take a long period however there have been significant short term progress on the following areas:

    —  Assisting forces with implementation of Recommendation 61 by feeding back issues from forces to SSAT.

    —  Input to Police Performance Assessment Framework (PPAF) measures on stop and search. The data from this was published on 27 October 2005.[201]

    —  Development of the Stop and Search manual—this was published on 31 March 2005 and disseminated to forces thereafter. The manual included a "stops" definitions table detailing typical stop or stop and search circumstances.

    —  NCPE Practice advice on stop and search defining standards for the use of the power.

    —  Work with Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) to inform their recent race thematic inspections of forces.

    —  A series of well-attended stop and search regional seminars in Spring and Autumn 2005.

15.  What were the results of SSAT liaison with young people to assess the impact of stop and search? What, if any, action was taken as a result?

  Community consultation events fed directly into the POP process (see above). Findings varied dramatically around the country and there was no generic response. The findings from these sessions informed the individual force templates and fed directly into the Stop and Search manual.

  During the course of work on Stop and Search, approximately 1,500 young people were engaged with during the course of four consultation exercises:

    —  To determine the impact of Stop and Search on their lives.

    —  To determine the impact of Recommendation 61.

    —  To determine the effectiveness of the Stop and Search Manual.

    —  To determine their reaction to the proposal to record faith on Stop and Search forms.

  The consultation targeted pre-existing groups (youth clubs, faith groups etc) of young people aged 16 to 25.

  For the first two pieces of consultation we used young people involved in the "Team" programme run by the Prince's Trust. This gave us groups of unemployed young people with a racial mix that reflected the local community with 24% within 12 months of a custodial sentence, 14% care leavers and 40% educational underachievers.

  For the final two pieces of consultation we used young people predominantly from BME communities. We targeted organisations such as the Somali Centre in Toxteth and Ek Awaaj youth group in Leicester.

  Key findings from the work included:

    —  All Black male participants had experienced a Stop and Search compared to 30% of White male participants and 80% of Black female participants.

    —  Experience of Stop and Search varied widely between areas.

    —  Young people did not know their rights with regard to Stop and Search.

    —  Some forces failed to provide a written record.

    —  The greatest cause for concern for young people was when they did not know why they had been stopped and searched.

    —  There was widespread support for the need for the tactic but strong criticism in some areas as to how it was deployed.

    —  Young and inexperienced officers were often blamed for creating tensions during the encounter.

    —  Recommendation 61 (the recording of stops) during initial trials was not popular with young people.

    —  The Home Office Stop and Search Manual was neither accessible nor of value to young people.

    —  Young people were resistant to the concept of recording an individual's faith during a Stop and Search encounter.

  Key actions arising either directly or in part from these findings included:

    —  An emphasis on the manner in which Stop and Search encounters should be conducted in all subsequent guidance.

    —  The development of the Practice Orientated Package to try to understand regional variances and how they impact on community confidence.

    —  Notes of guidance from ACPO reminding forces of the need to inform suspects the powers being used to affect the Stop and Search and the specific reasons for the stop.

    —  The development of a publicity campaign to inform young people of their rights.

    —  The development of a training programme and guidance notes on Recommendation 61 to ensure that front line staff understood the reason why stops were being monitored.

    —  Trialing the use of Palm Pilots to electronically record Stops and Searches which automatically generate Stop and Search forms during specific encounters such as PNC checks.

    —  The development of a Stop and Search Community Manual and a Stop and Search web site with advice on how to make complaints.

    —  The piloting of alternative methods of monitoring the impact of Stop and Search on faith communities that do not involve requesting individuals to disclose their faith during the encounter.

16.  What, if any, assessment has been made of the effectiveness of the IPCC in increasing Black young people's confidence and trust in the police service? What did this show?

  The IPCC has a statutory duty under the Police Reform Act 2002 to increase public confidence in the police complaints system, and, in doing so, to contribute to increasing confidence in policing as a whole. This is a key part of the IPCC's Guardianship function.

  In order to establish an early benchmark in relation to confidence, the IPCC conducted a large-scale survey of public confidence in the police complaints system during its first year of operation, in 2004;[202] this survey will be re-run over time so that changes can be monitored against this baseline.

  The survey found that general willingness to make a complaint was high (77% of people definitely or probably would complain) and did not differ greatly by ethnicity, but young people were less willing to complain (73% of 15 to 34 year olds definitely or probably would complain).

  When asked about their views on making a complaint, Black people were more likely than White people to state that:

    —  they did not think they would be taken seriously (Black 38%; White 30%);

    —  complaining would take up too much of their time (Black 33%; White 21%);

    —  they were concerned about subsequent police harassment or other consequences (Black 28%; White 18%).

  Young people were more likely to think that they would not be taken seriously (15 to 34: 39%; overall 31%) and that complaining would not make a difference (15 to 34: 39%; overall 36%).

  Black people and young people were significantly less likely to have heard of the IPCC (Black: 38%; 15 to 34: 39%; overall 62%) and less likely to be confident that the IPCC would deal with complaints impartially (Black: 54%; 15 to 34: 61%; overall 67%).

  The full report is available on the IPCC's website at http://www.ipcc.gov.uk/confidence_survey.pdf

  The IPCC has commissioned MORI to undertake qualitative work with those groups that were either less willing to complain or more sceptical of the complaints system, including young Black people. This work has been completed and will be published later this year.

  The research found that perceptions of, and attitudes towards, the police heavily influenced participants' perceptions of the complaints procedures in general and the likelihood of making a complaint. The MORI research considered shared characteristics of the participants and identified broad groupings in terms of their attitudes towards the police. A group identified as "highly disengaged", consisting primarily of Black and Asian young people, predominantly young men, and Gypsies and Travellers, tended to have the lowest expectations of police behaviour and were the least willing to complain as they had regular negative police contact, either themselves or through family and friends, and accepted such as a regular part of their lives.

  In addition, the IPCC consults the British Crime Survey statistics breaking down confidence in the police service by ethnicity to assess changes, although it is not possible to draw specific causal links between statistical changes and the IPCC.

  The research made several recommendations for the IPCC which the organisation is currently considering; other work in relation to increasing confidence in the complaints system includes:

    —  Working with the Children's Legal Centre on their Nuffield Foundation funded research project in relation to children and young people aged 16 years and under and their access to the police complaints system.

    —  A local pilot project on raising awareness of the police complaints system with young Asian men in Dewsbury. From this project the IPCC will draw out lessons around effective means of increasing awareness of the police complaints system.

    —  A lead commissioner for policy issues in relation to the impact and use of police stop and search powers, who is leading a group of IPCC practitioners in examining issues from stop and search complaints.

  The IPCC views its responsibility to ensure that police complaints system arrangements are efficient and effective and demonstrate independence, as well as its powers to "call in" for consideration complaints or allegations of misconduct as important contributory factors to increasing public confidence. All the IPCC's activities including referrals, involvement in investigations, appeals and casework generally contribute to its Guardianship function.

  The IPCC's Statutory Guidance for the police service in England and Wales which took effect from December 2005, encourages the police service to build particular communities confidence in the complaints system. The Guidance advises that where people have experienced or have a shared perception—whether well-founded or not—that the police are unfair, such as BME communities, gay and lesbian communities and people with disabilities, greater effort maybe required.

17.  To what extent does social exclusion have a disproportionate impact on bail/remand decisions for Black young people? What, if any, measures are being taken to combat this?

  A number of research studies have suggested that BME defendants, in particular Black defendants, are more likely to be remanded in custody by the police and the courts (eg John, 2003; Feilzer and Hood, 2004). A recent National Audit Office (NAO) report[203] also found that African-Caribbean men are more likely to be remanded in custody. It appears that this discrepancy cannot, or cannot entirely, be explained by characteristics of the offender or offence.

  The research projects did not identify the specific causes of disproportionality. However, issues such as having stable accommodation are pertinent to a decision on bail. In partnership with Nacro, SOVA and Foundation Housing (voluntary sector agencies), NOMS has secured Invest To Save Budget funding to deliver an effective bail support and accommodation service to defendants in key courts in Yorkshire and Humberside. BME defendants will be prioritised within this scheme and the intention is to engage mentors with particular competence to work effectively with BME defendants to help them comply with bail conditions, thus giving courts confidence in the bail arrangements.

  NOMS is attempting to address disproportionate use of remand for BME defendants. It is established policy that BME defendants are given priority for bail information where bail information schemes are operated in prisons, or by probation services in courts. This was most recently re-iterated in guidance issued to probation in March 2005 and to prisons in October 2005. Bail information schemes provide factual and verified data to the courts on the defendant's circumstances that is relevant to the bail v remand decision, including accommodation and community ties.

18.  What is the remit of the OCJR's Bail and Remand Policy Group? What has it achieved to date?

  The Bail and Remand Policy Group (BRPG) has been established to oversee bail and remand policy aims (other than failure to attend which is dealt with elsewhere) and will seek to develop and implement solutions in consultation and conjunction with CJS agencies. One of the aims of the group is to address equality and welfare issues in bail/remand decision-making, including issues of disproportionate race impact.

  The group has met twice and considered a range of issues including tagging as a condition of bail, bail information schemes, mental health issues and race disproportionality issues.

19.  What measures have been taken to ensure that pre-sentence reports are even-handed in relation to offenders from different ethnic groups?

  The National Probation Service have taken steps to ensure that pre-sentence reports (PSRs) are monitored by ethnicity, and that the quality of PSRs for BME offenders are high. In 2003, the NPS was set a target of ensuring that 95% of PSRs written on BME offenders had clear recommendations. The NPS achieved 94% towards the target in 2003-04, narrowly missing the target, although 35 out of the 42 probation areas met or exceeded it. In 2004-05 this rose to 97%.

20.  Does NOMS have a strategy for counteracting perceptions among Black prisoners of a lack of respect from prison staff as highlighted in HM Inspectorate of Prisons thematic report on prisons, "Parallel Worlds"? If so, what are the key elements of this strategy?

  The Prison Service is committed to addressing the negative perceptions of BME prisoners, and particularly any perception that there is a lack of respect for black prisoners from prison staff. The most significant single measure to address negative perceptions is the completion of Race Equality Impact Assessments (REIAs).

  The Prison Service is meeting the requirements of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 (RR(A)A) by assessing and consulting on the impact of all of its policies, processes and functions through the completion of REIAs. Each establishment undertakes its own REIAs and they focus on a number of priority areas identified as having the most significant impact on prisoners' day-to-day lives. These are being tackled in two tranches:

    (i)  Canteen, catering, good order and discipline, use of force, adjudications, complaints, and incentives and earned privileges (completed by 31 March 2006).

    (ii)  Racist incident reporting, allocation to work, and access to religion. (scheduled for completion by 25 September 2006).

  All establishments completed the first tranche of REIAs by 31 March 2006. The results of these REIAa will be published in the annual review of the Prison Service Race Equality Scheme. The REIAs are also being made available to prisoners, for example in prison libraries.

  The impact assessment process involves consultation with prisoners, and particularly BME prisoners, and, where available, suitable representatives from the voluntary and community sector. As well as identifying adverse impact on BME prisoners and developing plans to address it, this consultation assists in establishments in raising levels of confidence and improving the perceptions of BME prisoners.

  The revised Prison Service Order 2800 on Race Equality for Prisoners will be issued in July 2006 for implementation on 25 September 2006 and will set out future plans for the development of the impact assessment process.

  Coupled with this work is the development of new Race Equality Key Performance Targets (KPTs), which aim to help the Prison Service to measure and better manage race equality for prisoners, staff and visitors. The KPTs were implemented in April 2006 to provide a number of measures that strike a balance between processes (eg audit measures) and outcomes (eg ethnic monitoring data). Importantly, qualitative measures are also included and will gauge prisoner and visitors perceptions through the use of prisoner and visitor surveys. Prisoners' perceptions are part of the measuring quality of prison life (MQPL) which takes place every two years.

  The KPTs consist of an overall assessment made up of several measures that are combined, with relative weightings, to provide an overall score or assessment. There is strength in combining different measures in this way. Individually, they all have limitations and weaknesses in measuring, but collectively, they provide breadth, checks and balances.

  The Operational KPT measure has been designed to report on the way in which race equality is managed between staff, prisoners and visitors. It contains the following elements, which have an associated weighting reflecting their contribution to an overall score.

    —  Race Relations Audit—20%.

    —  Racist Incident Report Management—25%.

    —  Ethnic Monitoring Data —20%.

    —  Prisoner Survey—20%.

    —  Visitor Survey—15%.

  Together these measures will provide greater opportunities to monitor prisoners' access to facilities and services and to gauge adverse impact. In the longer term work is ongoing, through the National Offender Management Information Service (NOMIS) user group, to ensure ethnic monitoring requirements are fully incorporated within the NOMIS IT user specification. This will provide the Service with an opportunity to comprehensively extend its monitoring of the provision of services and facilities to prisoners.

  Another way of tackling the negative perceptions of BME prisoners is through prisoner representation on the Race Relations Management Team (RRMT) in each establishment. The RRMT must ensure that it has an appropriate level of representation of diverse prisoner and external groups. Sufficient time must be allocated to those prisoners who act as prisoners' representatives to consult other prisoner groups in the establishment, so that important issues are not missed. This not only helps RRMTs to take account of the needs, circumstances and experiences of those affected by the establishment's functions, policies and practices from a user perspective, it also provides them with an additional measuring tool to help identify actual or potential inequalities.

  Prisoner RRMT representative training forms part of the overall review of training. A new training strategy has been developed and has been piloted in a number of establishments. In others prisoner RRMT representatives have been trained alongside staff members of the RRMT.

21.  How effective are "offender behaviour programmes" delivered (a) in prisons and (b) on probation in reducing re-offending among Black young people?

  There is considerable evidence, originating mainly from North America, to support the effectiveness of offending behaviour programmes in reducing re-offending. However, UK research into the effectiveness of programmes in prisons and probation has produced mixed results.[204] There is a paucity of research into the effectiveness of prison and probation programmes in reducing re-offending among young black people specifically. However, several pieces of research have explored issues around BME offenders and programmes in the past few years (these are summarised below). Current research will expand our knowledge in this area (please see response to Q12 in this document).

PRISON PROGRAMMES

  One small-scale study suggested positive findings for the effectiveness of the prison service sex offender treatment programme for BME offenders. However, these results are limited.

    —  A small scale evaluation of the impact of the Prison Service Sex Offender Treatment Programme on minority ethnic offenders was conducted.[205] The researchers concluded that on the majority of psychometric measures treatment was equally effective across both groups of participants. However, in this sample, Black offenders had higher initial levels of denial of offence premeditation and offence repetition; and whilst there was no premeditation difference post-treatment, the denial of repetition remained statistically significantly higher than White offenders. The results should be considered in the context of the fairly limited sample size and methodological limitations used of the study.

PROBATION PROGRAMMES

  Three studies have explored issues around probation programmes and BME offenders. There are some positive findings but no clear evidence of effectiveness.

    —  A qualitative study[206] looked at evaluations of a small number of locally developed probation programmes for Black and Asian offenders. The results of these were encouraging but could not be seen as conclusive due to methodological difficulties, small sample sizes and limited long-term reconviction data.

    —  In 2001 the National Probation Directorate commissioned research into the criminogenic needs of BME offenders. This involved interviews with a representative sample of 483 offenders under probation supervision, of which 49% were or had been on an order which included a requirement to attend a probation-led programme.[207] On the whole, the accounts given of supervision and programmes were mostly positive, in line with findings of other studies of white or mainly white groups of probationers. Those who had completed a programme were statistically significantly more likely to give a positive response on their experience of probation than those who had yet to start. Of those who responded (98%), the majority (67%) agreed that probation had changed the way that they thought about or approached problems. 22% said they were less impulsive or more likely to consider the consequence of their actions. 16% said they were trying to refrain from anti-social or criminal behaviour and 7% said they were trying to address their substance misuse problems.

    —  The National Probation Service developed programmes in 2003 specifically for minority ethnic offenders in the form of additional modules for general offending behaviour programmes, adapted Drink Impaired drivers programme and groups run with exclusively minority ethnic membership. Research[208] on these programmes found that they were not sufficiently implemented to be ready for outcome studies.

22.  What mechanisms are in place to ensure that offender behaviour programmes are accessible and appropriate to the specific needs of Black offenders?

  Between 2002 and 2005 the National Probation Directorate (NPD) undertook jointly with the Prison Service a diversity review of accredited general offending behaviour programmes to ensure that all materials for these programmes were accessible to all groups of offenders including those from BME groups. The programme materials and exercises were examined by a working group which included staff from minority ethnic groups who were experienced programme facilitators and specialist diversity advisors. The objective was to ensure that no elements of programmes inadvertently disadvantaged or excluded BME offenders.

  A number of programme manuals have been reviewed by external consultants (eg the Sex Offender Treatment Programme manuals have been reviewed by an independent Muslim consultant) to ensure suitability for men from particular ethnic groups.

  More recently developed programmes have been able to incorporate the growing learning about diversity and responsivity into the development of the programme content, training and implementation arrangements.

  The Correctional Services Accreditation Panel, who independently scrutinise all offending behaviour programmes for accreditation specifically consider each programme in terms of its relevance and accessibility to BME groups.

  The reports from the diversity review suggested that a key issue was facilitators' confidence in their abilities to deliver programmes in a responsive manner to BME offenders. This has led to changes being made to the training for general offending behaviour programmes with more emphasis being placed on diversity in treatment management and in the assessment of competence required before facilitators become fully accredited.

  A multi-programme, multi-disciplinary, multi-ethnic steering group is currently overseeing the development of a training package in cross cultural communication skills within offending behaviour programmes, which is being developed for offending behaviour programme facilitators. This training package will be piloted later in 2006.

  A Diversity Impact Assessment strategy is underway, with DIAs to be completed on all HMPS offending behaviour programmes over the next two years.

  NPD policy outlines in the Accredited programmes National Management Manual that offenders from BME groups should where possible not be placed in groups where all the other members are white. In some cases this proves difficult where probation areas have a low density of BME probationers and delaying starting a programme would mean that the offender would not be able to complete treatment within their period of supervision. In these cases the offender may be offered two options:

    1.  Taking part in a programme as a singleton BME offender, with additional support form his/her case manager; this would only happen if the offender is willing to do this.

    2.  Undertaking the 1-2-1 programme, which provides the same quality of input as a general offender programme but on an individual basis. The 1-2-1 programme can also be used where an offender has insufficient spoken English to take part in a group programme, either by using a facilitator who speaks the same language or working through an interpreter.

  HMPS similarly provide guidance on issues relating to participation of offenders from BME groups where all other group members would be White.

  Participation in offending behaviour programmes is monitored and reviewed. In NPS, rates of referral, attendance and completion of offender behaviour programmes are monitored by using the Intermediate Accredited Programmes software (IAPs), which provides management information to National Probation Service (NPS) areas and performance data to NPD. This data can be broken down to the local level and by ethnicity. Probation areas can analyse the data to check for disparities in programme attrition rates of offenders from different ethnic backgrounds and age groups. Current data indicates in general that young offenders are more likely not to complete programmes, but that there is no difference in completion rates of White offenders and those from BME backgrounds. Similarly HMPS monitors rates of attendance and completion via the offending behaviour programmes core database. Quarterly summaries of this information are then reviewed by the OBPU Section heads and programme leads.

  NPD Interventions Unit have commissioned a number of special projects (pathfinders) in relation to BME offenders and offending behaviour programmes. These include:

    —  Running programmes for BME groups exclusively, led by BME facilitators.

    —  Combining Offending behaviour programmes with self-development sessions for BME offenders.

    —  Providing mentors for BME offenders attending programmes.

  A process evaluation of the pathfinder programmes has been undertaken and the results will be published shortly. Recommendations and good practice guidance arising from the pathfinders will be issued to probation areas.

  NPD have also commissioned a research project through RDS into the views of Black and Asian male offenders on probation.[209] One aspect of this study was to examine the perceptions of Black and Asian offenders who attended programmes. General findings indicated that offenders were positive about their probation experience and have a similar range of needs as white offenders (although their needs were on average less). A key finding from this study, the largest ever undertaken in the UK, contradicted the assumption that Black and Asian probationers would generally prefer to undertake programmes in groups of offenders from the same ethnic background was not shared by the offenders themselves. They generally preferred mixed and multiracial service models. The largest group of offenders identified were of mixed heritage and many of this group did not identify themselves as black or white.

  A recent study into meeting the drug treatment needs of BME prisoners, conducted by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN), will help inform the overall approach in addressing those needs.

23.  What does the Home Office perceive to be the biggest obstacles towards achievement of PSA2(e) target 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?

  PSA2e is essentially a perception based target, therefore a major obstacle to achieving it, is understanding what drives people's perception of how they will be treated by CJS organisations. The evidence we do have shows that to change perceptions people's actual and vicarious experience of the system has to improve. However, there will always be a time lag between improvements in services and people's perception. Allied to this obstacle is the challenging nature of the target, which discounts any person who believes they will be treated worse by any one of the five CJS agencies.

  Although four of the five agencies have achieved statistically significant decreases in the number of people who feel they will they will be treated worse, this has not been reflected in achieving a significant decrease in the aggregate target. The reason for this is that there is not necessarily a clear direct relationship between the individual organisations and the composite aggregate measure. It is not safe to assume that if the individual organisations decrease that the composite measure will decrease by the same amount. If BME people feel they would be discriminated against by more than one organisation, an individual organisation's rate may improve. However, if this improvement simply meant BME people tended to feel they would be discriminated against by fewer organisations, but continued to feel discriminated against by one or more, then the overall measure would not improve.

  A further obstacle is that HOCS data is currently only collected very two years and nor can it be broken down to Local Criminal Justice Board (LCJB) level. This means that it is not possible to set local targets and LCJBs do not have robust data to measure how the changes they make to ensure services are delivered fairly are impacting on the target.

24.  How successful have the "Fairness and Equality in the CJS" toolkit for Local Criminal Justice Boards (LCJBs) and the CPS "No Witness, No Justice" Programme proved?

(a)  The Fairness and Equality in the CJS toolkit for LCJBs, supports the key criteria that LCJBs need to concentrate on to enable them to deliver the PSA2(e) target. Recent CJS Race Unit seminars have used the Toolkit to stimulate debate and local action for LCJBs.

  The initial feedback from LCJBs on the Toolkit has been favourable. The Toolkit has provided LCJB's with the necessary framework within which to enable them to have a measured and focused approach regarding race issues. Critically, it has enabled them to see that race issues are not just about Community Engagement and that a variety of methods are necessary for LCJBs to undertake in order to address issues of fairness and disproportionality. For Boards such as West Yorkshire, it has been the vehicle within which to underpin their business planning process thereby informing their delivery plan, for others it has enabled them to have the first real understanding of the key issues which need to be addressed at the local level. For the CJS Race Unit, the Toolkit has also been an effective method for engaging with LCJB's and has resulted in an increase of requests for support at the local level.

(b)  The "No Witness, No Justice" (NWNJ) victim and witness care programme is a joint CPS and Police initiative. Following a successful pilot study, and an award of Government funding to support national implementation, 165 Witness Care Units have been established across England and Wales.

  The Units, staffed by trained specialists from the police and the CPS, provide a single point of contact for victims and witnesses from point of charge until the conclusion of the case. Dedicated Witness Care Officers ensure that the individual needs of victims and witnesses are identified and met so that they have all the support and information they need to enable them to attend court and to give evidence.

  In preparing to establish local Witness Care Units, community consultation exercises have taken place so that the area understands the needs of the communities that they serve, and the range of local support services which may be available to support victims and witnesses through the criminal justice process. This has enabled Local Contact Directories to be developed so that Witness Care Officers can easily identify appropriate support and they can tailor their response to provide a service which meets the individual needs of victims and witnesses.

  Witness Care Units have been provided with specific guidance on consulting with BME communities and in an attempt to improve community engagement approaches and to offer better support to victims and witnesses the CPS has also funded three pilots which will inform best practice advice to local areas for future consultation exercises.

  It is this tailored approach to the delivery of services to victims and witnesses that provides a more effective response to ensure fairness and equality of treatment. Examples of the tailor made service may include making practical arrangements such as a pre-trial familiarisation visit to the court, childcare, transport, special measures to ensure that the witness can give their best evidence (eg a video link or screen to ensure that the witness is not intimidated by the defendant at court) ensuring that religious faith requirements are catered for, eg availability of appropriate religious books for oath taking and availability of appropriate prayer facilities, providing immediate interpreter support for verbal communications leading to the court hearing, and an interpreter at court, or ensuring accessibility of court accommodation if the witness is disabled.

  In addition the victim or witness may require support from a specialist agency, and Witness Care Officers can put them in touch with an appropriate organisation eg Victim Support, Voice UK (learning disabled), Help the Aged (support for the elderly) Black Londoners forum, Black Racial Attacks Independent Network (BME).

  The NWNJ Project Team is currently conducting a programme of post implementation visits to each area to assess performance of Witness Care Units against the Minimum Requirements of NWNJ. Early results are encouraging showing that areas have made significant improvements in the delivery of local services to victims and witnesses, resulting in an increase in witness attendance at court. However, it is early days in the development of Witness Care Units and the NWNJ Project Team still consider that there is a lot of work to be done to achieve optimum standards of performance.

  We believe that the introduction of the NWNJ initiative is just the start of a journey which will see a transformation in the quality of service provided to victims and witnesses. We are confident that the tailor-made approach has already resulted in substantial improvements to victim and witness care. However, we recognise that the challenge is to raise awareness of the change and build confidence in all sections of society to ensure equal and fair access to the CJS.

25.  Are there any figures available to indicate the degree of ethnic variation in ratios of drug treatment places to drug mis-users? If so, what do these figures show?

  Data collected by the National Treatment Agency (NTA) shows that young drug mis-users entering treatment in the community are predominantly White (89%), compared to 11% from BME groups. These percentages do roughly correspond to what we would expect to see in the drug treatment population, nationally and in each region ie either a similar ratio of BME to White mis-users, or, a slight overrepresentation of BME drug users in drug treatment compared to local population demographics.

  In terms of offender drug treatment, the CARAT service (Counselling, Assessment, Referral, Advice and Throughcare) was established in 1999 as a gateway and lower level drug treatment service in every prison establishment across England and Wales. CARAT services are a major element of the Prison Service Drug Treatment Strategy. Prisoners can be assessed by a CARAT team, given advice about drug misuse and referred to appropriate drug services. Ethnicity data relating to custodial drug treatment currently derives from an evaluation of CARATs records and has been collected since April 2002.

  The CARAT service is intentionally flexible to help ensure delivery to drug-misusing offenders irrespective of minority ethnic background, age or gender.

  In 2004-05 where ethnicity was known, 86% of prisoners assessed by CARATs were white. This compares with 82% of all sentenced receptions into prison in 2002 (the most recent comparable data). The research report concluded these findings may suggest that non-white prisoners could be less likely to access CARAT services; however, given the closeness of the percentages, some bias may be introduced by missing data—but the findings suggest that non-white prisoners may be less likely to access CARAT services. This would be consistent with differential needs, as levels of drug-misuse are significantly lower for non-white prisoners, for example, a survey[210] showed that 74% of white prisoners used drugs in the year before custody, compared to 67% black and 50% South Asian prisoners.

PERCENTAGE OF CARAT CLIENTS IN DIFFERENT ETHNIC GROUPS


2003-04
2004-05
Both years

White
86
86
86
Black
7
6
7
Asian
3
3
3
Mixed
3
4
3
Other
1
1
1
Number of cases
34,075
46,915
80,990

  Note: Excludes 3,139 cases (4%) where ethnicity was not known.

26.  To what extent do drug treatment measures vary in their effectiveness depending on the ethnicity of the user?

  The NTA uses three main indicators of drug treatment effectiveness. These are:

    —  Waiting times to enter treatment;

    —  Retention in treatment for three months (evidence indicates that those with serious heroin and cocaine/crack problems require a minimum three months structured drug treatment); and

    —  initial treatment completion ie whether a client completes their drug treatment.

  In 2005-06 the mean waiting time for drug treatment for clients under 25 was 2.8 weeks for white clients and 2.6 weeks for BME clients. This slight difference is not significant. When the data is analysed to look at BME clients referred from criminal justice routes (proxy for young offenders) the average wait was 2.45 weeks, compared to 2.4 for white young offenders (this difference is not significant). It is important to note that young BME offenders access drug treatment faster than non offenders of any ethnicity.

  Evidence indicates that a minimum retention in treatment for those with serious heroin and/or crack cocaine problems should be 3 months, as major health benefits accrue after this point. For other types of drug misuse such as dependent cannabis use and less severe cocaine and crack use evidence suggests that shorter drug treatment programmes are effective.

  Data on retention rates for 2005-06 for those under 25 who are young offenders shows that young offenders have slightly less retention when compared to non offenders of the same age. Differences are retention at Triage (assessment) 1 to 2% less for offenders and retention for three months or more, 2 to 4% less for non offenders.

  Treatment completion data for 2005-06 shows that BME young offender clients are slightly less likely to complete a treatment episode that white young offender clients, with 39% of white clients compared to 34% of BME clients.

  Although custodial drug treatment is flexible, to enable all drug-users to engage, a study[211] into the substance-misuse treatment needs of ethnic minority prisoners indicated that drug treatment services were not attracting BME men and that that was, at least in part, due to a lack of BME practitioners and a perceived lack of cultural understanding from White staff.

  To help identify minority ethnic prisoners' access to—and barriers to—drug treatment services in custody, the specialist Centre for Ethnicity and Health at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) was commissioned to conduct an assessment (its final report is expected to be delivered in late June 2006). The main barriers identified include issues surrounding:

    —  stigma;

    —  confidentiality;

    —  staffing;

    —  diversity training;

    —  dual role of prison officer drug workers;

    —  privacy and poor practice; and

    —  accessing after-care support.

  Building on this study, NOMS is now developing a diversity toolkit to help improve minority ethnic drug-users' access to drug treatment services. Work is also already underway to broaden the range of drug treatment workers available to engage with offenders—for example, the Modern Apprenticeship Scheme running in London prisons has seen seven minority ethnic apprentices taken on in recognition that minority ethnic drug-users are less likely than white counterparts to misuse opiates, more is being done to address crack-misuse—with a crack-specific. Some CARAT staff have already been trained to deal with crack-specific problems, as well as wider stimulants.

  The NTA Effectiveness Strategy underlines as a critical success factor the need to create a positive relationship between drug worker and client. The UCLAN researchers concluded that key to improving effectiveness of drug treatment for the BME population was to address issues of access, staffing mix and a perceived lack of cultural understanding of White staff. There was some evidence to suggest that for reasons of stigma and to an extent empathy with other drug mis-users that certain elements of the BME population were much less attracted to group work. This presents a considerable dilemma since drug treatment to a large extent in prisons is built on the principle of group work rather than one-to-one counselling. Considerable emphasis is placed on developing peer support within drug treatment groups. And group work is more efficient in deploying finite treatment resources.

  NB: These are provisional figures derived from monthly reporting of data to the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System. The Official Statistics relating to these issues will not be available until September 2006.

27.  To what extent does the Home Office believe experiences of young Black people as victims, witnesses and perpetrators in the criminal justice system are unique? How far do young Black peoples' experiences mirror those of other ethnic groups?

  There is evidence to suggest Black young people may have different experiences of the Criminal Justice System compared to other ethnic groups. In terms of suspects and defendants, the most recent statistics we have on race and criminal justice (2003-04) indicates there is disproportionality in Black people's experiences of each stage of the criminal justice process. Whilst these data indicate there may be differences in Black young people's experience of the CJS as victims, suspects and defendants we need more comprehensive information on BME groups' experiences across the CJS before we can make any definitive assessments regarding the extent to which their experience is unique and predicated on their ethnicity rather than other factors such as age or gender.

28.  Is there any research underway or in planning to assess the impact of neighbourhood policing teams and of the Race and Diversity Learning and Development Programme in improving interaction between the police, the wider CJS and young people? If so, what are the key findings of this research?

  An evaluation of the implementation and impact of neighbourhood policing (NP) is being undertaken by RDS. Part of this will include public outcome surveys in five Basic Command Units (BCUs) and five matched control areas. These surveys will measure, among other things, community engagement activity. More specifically, it is planned that in-depth case-study work will be carried out in two of the BCUs with a percentage of residents from BME communities substantially higher than the national average. This will explore whether the programme has similar effects for BME and White communities and how the forces involved have attempted to engage with all sections of BME communities. Findings from this work should be available in Autumn 2007.

  RDS has also recently evaluated three community engagement demonstration projects in three police authority areas. In a project in Cheshire, youth engagement was a priority. An outreach approach, using methods that were relevant to young people, and that they were able to understand, was successful. The final report from this project will be available at www.communityengagement.police.uk by the end of July.

  One of the functions of the Trust and Confidence Project Group which is chaired by an independent community member (Doreen Lawrence) is to scrutinise the impact of policing policy on the community satisfaction in the Police Service and advise the Home Secretary on how to achieve improvements in trust and confidence between BME communities and the police.

  The Police Race and Diversity Learning and Development Programme is an ambitious programme designed to reach every member of the extended police family. Its aim is to improve the overall understanding and appreciation of diversity issues as a whole, which in turn should improve relationships between the police service and young black people. It has been given an appropriate timescale for implementation (2004-09). All police forces have recently been required to provide an update to the Home Office on their implementation of the programme to date. These returns are due by 30 June 2006. The information collated from these returns, combined with the HMIC's assessment of force performance in race and diversity issues will be used to form the first annual report on the PRDLDP (expected to be published in November 2006).

29.  What research has been undertaken to explain crime and victimisation within BME communities—especially in relation to gun and knife crime? What measures have been developed in response to this?

  The Communities that Care "Safer London Youth Survey" which was published in 2005, provided information on young people's attitudes and behaviours in relation to crime and weapons use, based on information provided by 11,400 young people (aged 11 to 15) in six London Boroughs. Although encompassing the diversity of young people in those Boroughs, some of the data is broken down by ethnicity, as follows:

    —  8% of White British, 6% of Black Caribbean, 4% Black African and 4% South Asian young people said they had carried a gun in the previous 12 months.

    —  12% of White British, 12% Black Caribbean, 6% Black African and 6% South Asian young people said that they had carried a knife in the previous 12 months.

  The Survey also reported that White British and Black Caribbean respondents were "significantly more likely" to call their group of friends a "gang". White British and Black Caribbean respondents were also more likely to be in a "gang" which had a turf or territory of its own and to be in a gang with 10 or more members. Black Caribbean respondents were significantly more likely than other groups to say they were in a gang that had a name.

  The findings demonstrate that weapons and gangs issues affect a range of ethnic groups and our programme of work does not, therefore, focus on any one community. The full report can be read at: http://www.communitiesthatcare.org.uk/news.html201

  The programme of work being taken forward by the Home Office aims to tackle gun and knife crime across all communities, and includes:

    —  Legislation—through the Violent Crime Reduction Bill, new measures have been introduced to tighten legislation by creating a new offence of using someone to mind a weapon; raising the age at which someone can be sold a knife from 16 to 18; and providing new powers for head teachers to search pupils for knives; banning the sale, manufacture and importation of realistic imitation weapons.

    —  A nationwide knife amnesty was launched on 24 May and runs until 30 June, highlighting to all young people the risks of carrying a knife and giving people an opportunity to surrender unwanted knives.

    —  Following the knife amnesty, the Home Office is supporting forces in a programme of tough enforcement, together with educational projects to highlight to young people the risks of carrying knives.

    —  Provision of financial support for local projects through the Connected Fund.

    —  Liaison with other Government departments, voluntary and statutory agencies to look at the wider issues, such as social deprivation, neighbourhood renewal, educational underachievement, and health issues which may impact upon young people's involvement in gun and knife crime.

    —  A programme of community engagement includes events such as the Connected conference (the first of which was held in January 2004 and the second on 24 May 2006), and the high-level round-table meetings on guns, knives and gangs, which involve representatives of community organisations, senior police officers, statutory and voluntary organisations and policy officials. The most recent of these meetings was held on 7 March 2006.

30.  What research has been undertaken to explain the comparatively high rate of homicide within the black population? What policy measures have been developed to reduce this?

  We consider all homicides to be extremely serious, regardless of the ethnicity of the victim. Our approach is that many homicide offences are the result of an escalation of less serious forms of violent crime, for example domestic violence or street violence, and we therefore have a wide range of policies in place to tackle these types of violent crime. For example the Violent Crime Reduction Bill, which is currently before Parliament, contains measures to tackle guns, knives and alcohol-related violence. The Tackling Violent Crime Programme (TVCP) is focused on a small number of local areas with high levels of more serious violence. The early indications we have are that the first two tranches of the TVCP have made a difference in reducing the most serious categories of violent crime more rapidly than across the country as a whole, even though these are the areas with the greatest problems. A review of domestic violence homicide was published on 14 June.

31.  To what extent have ethnic minority communities been involved in developing and shaping research on patterns of crime and crime prevention initiatives?

  BME groups are not usually involved in the design of crime and crime prevention research, however a number of pieces of Home Office research have been specifically focused on understanding the views and perspectives of people from BME groups and using this information to inform policy development and service delivery. For example, OCJR's research into Black young men as victims of crime, the Home Office Citizenship Survey, British Crime Survey and Neighbourhood Policing evaluation all aim to examine the perspectives and experiences of BME groups in relation to crime and CJS-related issues to provide information for policymakers and practitioners.

32.  What types of projects have been funded by the Home Office's Connected fund to support voluntary groups working on gun crime, knife and gangs issue?

  The Home Office's Connected Fund has supported over 200 projects to date in England and Wales. Types of projects include: mentoring schemes, after-school diversionary activities such as sport and music, educational and training packages, anti-gun crime and anti-knife crime events and support for victims and witnesses.

33.  What is the size of the Home Office's Connected fund in total and what scale of support has been offered to individual groups?

  There have been four successful rounds of the Connected fund, each with a total fund size of £250,000. £1 million has been allocated to groups and organisations to date and a fifth round will be launched in the next few weeks. For the first round, the maximum grant was £10,000; for subsequent rounds, this was reduced to £5,000.

34.  What criteria does the Home Office use when allocating funding from the Connected fund?

  There are strict criteria upon application to the Connected Fund. Large or statutory organisations such as the police or schools are not funded. A grant of £5,000 is the maximum bid per project. The criteria are as follows:

  Project must meet at least one of the following criteria:

    —  Work with young people in, or at risk of becoming involved in gun and knife crime or gangs.

    —  Support victims of gun and knife crime and their families, for example providing advice and support services, or supporting witnesses during trials.

    —  Invest in and support the involvement of local people in decision-making processes that impact on law enforcement agencies in tackling gun and knife crime and gangs, and improving trust in the community.

    —  Particularly prioritising young people (16-25) and underrepresented groups.

  The following criteria must also be met (You are eligible if):

    —  The group is a small, locally managed voluntary organisation.

    —  The project will cost less than £10,000 in total to carry out.

    —  Applicants will be able to spend the grant by the end of the next financial year.

35.  How is the impact of projects funded by the Home Office's Connected fund being evaluated?

  Evaluation and monitoring forms are sent out to all individual projects six months after the grants are awarded. The information is being collated and analysed as part of the Connected funding process. This is a non-bureaucratic process that looks at what the projects initially set out to achieve, whether those aims have been achieved and the numbers of people involved who have been supported by the project. A number of projects have also been visited by the team, some of which are featured on our website as case studies.

36.  What indications are there on the success of groups funded by the Connected fund?

  Feedback from previous grantees of the fund, has been positive, with a particular positive impact on work with young people. In certain areas, there are now more established support networks available to victims of gun and knife violence, or to young people on the fringes of gang activity as result of the Fund.

37.  What measures are in place to assess the impact of legislation and policy on Black young people in comparison with other ethnic groups?

  The Race Relations (Amendment) Act requires all public authorities to set out in their race equality scheme their arrangements for monitoring any adverse impact their policies have on promoting race equality. Adverse impact is defined as a significant difference in patterns of representation or outcomes between racial groups, with the difference amounting to a detriment for one or more racial groups. Monitoring makes it possible to check whether policies, operations and organisational culture are discriminating against any racial group. Without ethnic monitoring data, there is no way of knowing whether discrimination might be taking place or whether policies to prevent or tackle it are working. Monitoring can also make it possible to find out why and how discrimination takes place.

  CJS agencies have race equality schemes in place and there is commitment to ensuring that Race Equality Impact Assessments are taking place and these are being done.

38.  How far does the Home Office believe the BCS provides reliable evidence of the extent of victimisation of Black young people, given the apparent contradiction between its finding that "White and Black people face similar levels of risk" and fact that Black people are five times more likely to be victims of homicide?

  Homicides are amongst the less frequent crimes in England and Wales, and are not covered by the BCS, which cover volume crime and people's experience of such crime. There is therefore no contradiction. The BCS is regarded internationally as the model for victim surveys.

39.  Does the Home Office have any plans for extending ethnic monitoring to victims of crime in order better to contextualise figures for minorities as suspects and offenders?

  We will consider this as part of the implementation of the Root and Branch Review how this may be expanded. However, the CPS currently produces performance data annually on domestic violence, homophobic crime and racist and religious crime prosecutions (collectively known as "Hate Crime"). Each data set has a different source and different reporting timescales and they also vary in terms of detail and quality of underpinning data. The CPS Hate Crimes Monitoring Project, was established to improve the electronic recording of hate crimes, including victim and defendant details to enable all data to be recorded electronically and to enable the CPS to report publicly on hate crimes data annually within one standardised report.

  The CPS has undertaken a holistic consultation process, both internally within the CPS and externally with Other Government Departments (OGDs) and community and interest groups to ensure that a comprehensive list of data priorities can be considered to inform the project.

40.  To what extent does the higher acquittal rate for BME defendants of all ages suggest that the CPS are not consistently filtering out weaker cases presented by the police? What steps are being taken to remedy this?

  The CPS Inspectorate (HMCPSI) looked at the issue of "overcharging" of ethnic minority defendants in two thematic reviews of cases with a minority ethnic dimension in 2002 and 2004. Both reviews were conducted before the full implementation of Statutory Charging. In 2004, HMCPSI noted that the CPS significantly corrected for any overcharging by the police in cases involving ethnic BME defendants (61.8% with respect to a sample of 123 cases).

  Both thematic reviews can be found on the HMCPSI website: http://www.hmcpsi.gov.uk/reports/thematic.shtml

  The CPS undertook an equality and diversity impact assessment to examine the impact of statutory charging and discover if charging decisions vary with the gender and the ethnicity of the suspect.

  The impact assessment was based on data for the six months from September 2004 for 42 CPS areas and was drawn from COMPASS, the CPS computerised case management system and included area, gender, ethnicity, month and result of the charging process. This amounted to 225,000 cases finalised nationally in the six months from September 2004.

  The main results on ethnicity indicated:

    —  There were no significant differences across different ethnic groups in the proportion of cases finalised by a charge. Cases with Black suspects were finalised by charge in slightly more cases (48.9%), as were cases with Mixed suspects (47.8%). Cases with White, Asian or Other suspects were similar.

    —  There were some differences by ethnicity in cases finalised by No Further Action (NFA) on evidential grounds. 25.4% of cases nationally with White suspects were so finalised: cases with Black, Mixed or Other suspects were less likely to have their cases finalised NFA on evidential grounds (all significantly lower than White at around 19% to 20%.) There were some other differences within the 16+1 categories: eg cases with Other White, Mixed White/Black African or Mixed Other suspects were much less likely to have their cases finalised NFA evidential (all below 18%).

  The data set drawn from the COMPASS system did not include other variables, such as type of offence, age of suspect, any disability of the suspect, or sentence given. The CPS will build on this with a further impact assessment of the ethnic and gender distribution of charging decisions and will expand this to include analysis of offence category in 2006-07.

  Statutory Charging which has been in operation across the whole of England and Wales since 3 April 2006, applies a consistent approach of case assessment, which prevents weak cases entering the system and reduces the risk of possible overcharging by the police by way of a pre-charge consultation with CPS. In addition the introduction of the Proactive Prosecutor Training Programme which is being disseminated to all duty prosecutors is designed to further improve standards by the application of a thorough, accurate and consistent case assessment in all cases.

41.  Why does the DCA believe guilty pleas are more commonly entered by white than BME defendants? What impact does this have on criminal justice outcomes for equitable administration of justice?

  It is unclear why BME defendants enter fewer guilty pleas, however the DCA does not believe this will impact on criminal justice outcomes for the equitable administration of justice. A report[212] carried out by the University of Oxford Centre for Criminological Research in association with the University of Birmingham School of Law published in 2003, investigated the extent to which ethnic minority defendants in Crown and magistrates' courts perceived their treatment to have been unfair. It also investigated if any unfairness was attributed to racial bias, and how this affected their confidence in the criminal courts.

  The study revealed that about one third of defendants in the Crown Court and about a quarter in the magistrates' courts believed that they had been unfairly treated when in court: but no major differences were found between the proportions of white, black African/Caribbean, or South Asian defendants in this respect. There was a finding among black defendants that the authority and legitimacy of the courts, and confidence in them, would be strengthened if more personnel from the ethnic minority population were seen to be playing a more significant role in the administration of criminal justice. In this respect DCA has introduced programmes to increase the diversity of both the judiciary and magistracy.

42.  What impact will the removal of the right of defendants to elect for jury trial have on defendants from different ethnic groups? What, if any, measures are in place to mitigate any negative effects?

  There is no proposal to remove the right to elect jury trial. The CJA 2003 contains provision for non-jury trial in cases of jury tampering (which is shortly to be implemented), and in some serious and complex fraud cases (on which the Government proposes further primary legislation). There is no evidence that these provisions—which are expected to apply in very few cases—would impact differently on different ethnic groups.

July 2006

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  Bonniface (2000) Stop and Search (unpublished).

  Calverley, A, Cole, B, Kaur, G, Lewis, S, Raynor, P, Sadeghi, S, Smith, D, Vanstone, M and Wardak, A (2004) Black and Asian offenders on probation, Research Study 277. London: Home Office.

  Communities That Care (2005) Findings from the Safer London Youth Survey 2004. London: Communities That Care.

  Dockling, M and Burke, T (2006) Confidence in the Police Complaints System: A Survey of the General Population. IPCC Research and Statistics series: Part 2. IPCC: London.

  Feilzer, M & Hood, R (2004) Differences or Discrimination—Minority Ethnic Young People in the Youth Justice System. London: Youth Justice Board.

  Hallsworth & Mcguire (2004) Examining Stop and Search Patterns in the City of London (unpublished).

  Harper, G and Chitty, C (2004) The Impact of Corrections on Re-Offending: a Review of "What Works". Home Office Research Study 291. London: Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate.

  Heardon, I and Hough, M (2004) Race and the Criminal Justice System: An Overview to the complete statistics 2002-03. London: Home Office.

  HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (2002) Thematic Review of Casework Having a Minority Ethnic Dimension. London: HMCPSI.

  HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (2004) A Follow-Up of CPS Casework With a Minority Ethnic Dimension. London: HMCPSI.

  Home Office (2003) The Substance Misuse Treatment of Minority Prisoner Groups: Women, Young Offenders and Ethnic Minorities. London: Home Office Research. Home Office Development & Practice Report 8.

  Home Office (2005) Statistical Bulletin 10/05: Updated and Revised Prison Population Projections 2005-2011. London: Home Office.

  Hood, R, Shute S, Seemungal F (March 2003)—Ethnic Minorities in the Criminal Courts Perceptions of Fairness and Equality of Treatment. UK.

  John, G (2003) Race for Justice. A Review of CPS Decision Making for Possible Racial Bias at Each Stage of the Prosecution Process. London: CPS.

  Lewis S, Raynor P, Smith D, and Wardak A (2006) Race and Probation. UK: Wilan Publishing.

  MVA and Miller, J (2000) Profiling Populations Available for Stops and Searches. Police Research Series, Paper 131. London: Home Office.

  National Audit Office, (2004) Facing Justice: Tackling Defendants' Non-Attendance at Courts. London: The Stationary Office.

  Police and Performance Assessment Framework, 27 October 2006: http://www.met.police.uk/news/reports/hmic/baseline_assessment_2005_grades.pdf

  Powis, B and Walmsley, R K (2002) Programmes for Black and Asian offenders on probation: Lessons for developing practice. London: Home Office. Home Office Research Study 250.

  Ramsey, M (eds) (2003) Prisoner's Drug Use and Treatment: Seven Studies. London: Home Office Findings No 186.

  RDS NOMS (2005) Offender Management Caseload Statistics 2004. London: Research, Development and Statistics Directorate NOMS.

  Stephens, K, Coombs, J and Debidin, M (2004) Black and Asian offenders pathfinder: implementation report. London: Home Office Development and Practice Report 24.

  Waddington, P A J et al (2004) In Proportion: Race, and Police Stop and Search; British Journal of Criminology, vol 44, no 6, pp 889-914.

  Webster, S D, Akhtar, S, Bowers, L E, Mann, R E, Rallings, M and Marshall, W L (2004) "The Impact of the Prison Service Sex Offender Treatment Programme on Minority Ethnic Offenders: A Preliminary Study" Psychology, Crime and Law, 10 (2), pp 113-124.







196   Waddington et al 2004; Hallsworth and Mcguire 2004; MVA and Miller 2000; and Bonniface 2000. Back

197   Table 8.4, Offender Management Caseload Statistics 2004, RDS NOMS. Back

198   Table 7.5, Offender Management Caseload Statistics 2004, RDS NOMS. Back

199   HO Statistical Bulletin 10/05: Updated and revised prison population projections 2005-11. Back

200   Heardon and Hough, 2004. Back

201   http://www.met.police.uk/news/reports/hmic/baseline-assessment-2005-grades.pdf Back

202   Dockling and Burke, 2006. Back

203   National Audit Office, 2004. Back

204   Harper & Chitty, 2005. Back

205   Webster et al (2004). Back

206   Powis and Walmsley, 2002. Back

207   Calverley et al 2004. Back

208   Stephens et al, 2004; Harper & Chitty, 2005. Back

209   Lewis S, Raynor P, Smith D, and Wardak A (2006) Race and Probation. Pub Wiley. Back

210   Criminality Survey; 2000; Liriano and Ramsay. Back

211   Home Office Development & Practice Report 8, June 2003. Back

212   Hood, R, Shute S, Seemungal F (March 2003)-Ethnic Minorities in the Criminal Courts Perceptions of Fairness and Equality of Treatment. UK. Back


 
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