||The Ministry of Justice has released annual statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System 2012 which provides information about how members of all ethnic groups, including those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups, were represented in the Criminal Justice System (CJS) in England and Wales in the most recent years for which data is available, and, wherever possible, in the preceding four years.
A recent paper by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission found that Black and Asian people are still far more likely than white people to be stopped and searched by police in England and Wales.
The discriminatory, disproportionate and unlawful use of stop and search powers was called into question by the Home Secretary, Theresa May, earlier this year when she called for a review of the powers.
One striking statistic in the MoJ report is that people who self-identify themselves as Mixed, Black and Asian ethnic groups (11%, 7% and 6%, respectively) were more at risk of being a victim of personal crime than adults from the White ethnic group (5%).
Using the 2012/13 Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) the report found that nearly three times as many adults from BAME groups worry or think they are likely to be a victim of violent crime than White adults.
On racist incidents and offences, the reports notes that there were 47,678 racist incidents recorded in 2011/12 and 30,234 racially or religiously aggravated offences recorded by the police in 2012/13.
Although this figure has fallen by 21% since 2008/09, across England and Wales, six Police Force Areas (PFAs) have seen an increase in the number of racially or religiously aggravated offences.
Racially or religiously aggravated offences are categorised as: harassment; assault with injury; assault without injury; and criminal damage.
In 2012/13, of all harassment offences, 14% were racially or religiously aggravated. The proportion of racially or religiously aggravated offences for the other offence groups was much smaller (1% for assault with injury, 2% for assault without injury and less than 1% for criminal damage).
In 2012/13, just under 50% of racially and religiously aggravated harassment and assault offences (with and without injury), were detected, compared with 31% of racially and religiously aggravated criminal damage offences.
However, detection rates for racially and religiously aggravated criminal damage are twice those of non-racially or religiously aggravated criminal damage (16%). These trends have been consistent with previous years but the detection rate for racially or religiously aggravated criminal damage offences has increased from 23% in 2009/10 to 31% in the latest period.
On the use of stop and search and arrests resulting from the powers, the main findings of the report are:
Between 2007/08 and 2011/12, there was a 7% increase in the number of stops and searches conducted under the most common stop and search powers used by the police (section 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and other legislation). The increase was consistent across all ethnic groups, with the proportions of stops and searches for each ethnic group remaining relatively stable throughout the period.
Per 1,000 population aged 10 or older (the age of criminal responsibility), a person from the Black ethnic group was six times more likely to be stopped and searched in 2011/12 under section 1 powers than a person from the White ethnic group, while someone from the Asian ethnic group was approximately twice as likely to be stopped and searched than a White person.
The proportion of arrests resulting from stops and searches under section 1 powers was relatively stable overall at just over 9% since 2008/09 (down from over 11% in 2007/08). Across ethnic groups, 10% of stops and searches of persons from the White ethnic group resulted in arrests, similar to the proportion for persons from the Black ethnic group (10% or just under) and higher than for individuals from the Asian ethnic group (at 7% or just above).
Per 1,000 population aged 10 or older, a Black person was nearly three times more likely to be arrested than a White person and a person from the Mixed ethnic group was twice as likely. There was no difference in the rate of arrests between Asian and White individuals.
The report concentrates on the three main methods by which the police stop and search suspects i.e. section 1 (s1) of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE), section 60 (s60) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 and section 47A (s47A) of the Terrorism Act 2000, which replaced powers of stop and search under section 44 (s44) of the same act.
Looking at the data for stops and searches conducted under s1 PACE and other legislation between 2007/08 and 2011/12. The main points are:
In 2011/12, there were 1,120,084 s1 stops and searches. This represents a 7% increase from 1,042,425 stops and searches in 2007/08, but a decrease of 7% from a peak of 1,203,725 stops and searches in 2010/11.
Section 1 stops and searches increased for all ethnic groups between 2007/08 and 2011/12. In that period, the largest percentage increase was for the Asian ethnic group (37%), whilst the smallest percentage increase was for the White ethnic group (6%).
Looking at the data for stops and searches conducted under Section 60 (s60) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, the report finds:
In 2011/12, there were 45,601 stops and searches under s60, the lowest number between 2007/08 and 2011/12. Section 60 stops and searches peaked in 2008/09, (nearly three times as much as the previous financial year), which coincided with two initiatives aimed at reducing knife crime. They have since been decreasing each year. Despite the overall decrease between 2007/08 and 2011/12, there were substantially more s60 stops and searches for all the BAME groups in 2011/12 than in 2007/08.
The ethnic breakdown of s60 stops and searches changed between 2007/08 and 2011/12, with the most notable change between 2007/08 and 2008/09; 65% of s60 stops and searches in 2007/08 were of White persons. This fell to a low of 31% in 2010/11 and rose to 35% in 2011/12.
By contrast, there was an increase in the proportion of s60 stops and searches of persons from the Black, Asian, Chinese or Other (all peaking in 2010/11) and Mixed ethnic groups (which peaked in 2011/12). 18% of stops and searches under s60 in 2007/08 were of Black persons. This rose to 36% in 2011/12.
In respect of arrests resulting from a stop and search there is a huge disparity between the races.
For example, the report shows that rates of arrests per 1,000 of the population by Police Force Area for 2011/12, was:
Persons from the Black ethnic group were nearly three times more likely to be arrested compared with White persons.
Persons from the Mixed ethnic group were twice as likely to be arrested compared with White persons.
Persons from the Asian or from the Chinese or other ethnic group were arrested at the same or similar rate to persons from the White ethnic group.
The MoJ report can be found here.