In the early phase of post-war immigration, there was an assumption that members of ethnic minority groups were no more likely to be offenders or victims than the majority white population. It was also assumed that the criminal justice system treated all ethnic groups fairly. According to a major investigation into police and immigrant relations in 1972 ‘black people were more law-abiding than the general population’ and there was little evidence against Black and Asian immigrants with regards to an increase in crime rates (Layton-Henry, 1992). During the next 10 years, however, relations between the police and the black community deteriorated and evidence mounted of increasing racist attacks.
The media pushed the idea that certain ethnic groups within the UK were more likely to commit crimes and end up in prison as a result of this. In 2000 a nationwide study presented the following statistics that appeared to prove that some ethnic groups were more likely to offend:
The white population of the UK made up 94.5% of the total population but only made up 82% of the prison population. The black population made up 1.8% of the UK’s total population but made up 12.1% of the prison population. In contrast the Asian representation in this study showed that they made up 2.7% of the UK’s total population and had a prison population of 2.8%.
'Members of ethnic minorities are no more prone to crime than other sections of the population, but are over-represented in crime statistics.' Many members of society assume that ethnic minorities are more prone to being involved in criminal activity, than white Caucasian people. This is reflected in official statistics, and we will now question the validity of such claims.
Researchers Lea and Young accept that policing policies and police racism exaggerate the black crime rate. However, they do...