Coalition for Racial Equality & Rights

The State of The Nation 2013: Criminal Justice

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The State of the Nation: Race & Racism in Scotland - Criminal Justice

The Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights has now published the first of two reports on Criminal Justice as part of our series of publications within “The State of The Nation: Race & Racism in Scotland”.

This initial report sets out the data that will inform further analysis on some of the major areas highlighted by Government and areas of concern which our own report indicates require further investigation. The report also highlights significant gaps in existing Scottish Government data. The second part of the Criminal Justice report (to be published later in the year) will give additional commentary and analysis on issues such as those highlighted below.

Government data identifies a decrease in the number of victims reporting racial incidents to the Police. Victims now account for only 52% of initial reports compared with 85% in 2004-05. Whilst there is a welcome increase in the number of incidents being reported by Police and witnesses it would be too easy to use this to explain away why victims reporting incidents are declining when overall incident numbers are rising.

The media had already covered the issue of the 57% increase in White British victims of racist incidents since 2004-05 with incidents up from 826 to 1295. Clearly further analysis of these incidents and those classified within “White British” is required as this is used to collect data on racial incidents against not only the White British ethnic group but also White Scottish, White English, White Welsh and White Northern Irish ethnic groups as well.

One increase that also stood out in the data was the increase in the number of Asian perpetrators with reported incidents up from 73 in 2004-05 to 145 in 2011-12. Again further analysis of these incidents is required and in particular the identification of the ethnic group of the victims of these incidents.

A more worrying discovery is the clear evidence that the level of racist incidents being perpetrated by young people has not changed in the last eight years. In 2011 males under 21 constituted 40% of perpetrators of racist incidents (but only 11% of the victims). Females under 21 constituted 39% of perpetrators of racist incidents. In terms of age differential the main victims of racist incidents continue to be in the age group 26-50 with 65% of male victims and 64% of female victims in this age group.

This clearly calls in to question the effectiveness of current anti-racist initiatives aimed at this group. This is a generation which has come through the state education system which is presumed to be tackling the issues of race and racism yet the data suggest to little avail. 

Download the Report (pdf 4.49MB)

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