institutional violence

Topics: Police, Constable, Race and Ethnicity Pages: 6 (2039 words) Published: May 7, 2014

Discuss whether changes in policing arising out of the Macpherson Report might have resulted in the eradication of institutional racism. Stephen Lawrence aged 18 lost his life due to a fatal stabbing at a bus stop on 22ndApril 1993 in a racist and unprovoked attack. This was a case which the police were deeply criticised for in respect of their role of responsibility and the reason why the case is so well known is because until now, 10 years on no one has been convicted of his murder (Macpherson Report, Ten Years On, 1999). The real question is: have policing strategies changed since the case of Stephen Lawrence and has the MacPherson report resulted in extinction of institutional racism? Ethnic minorities have always been disadvantaged in some category, if not education, then employment and these disadvantages can change a person’s lifestyle. For example black people are more likely to be stopped and searched whereas Asians are less likely to be stopped. The smallest issues like these have become today’s major problems as ethnic minorities feel they are treated unfairly. Is there a link between the criminal justice system and black people and if there is then how has it been produced? This essay aims to examine whether changes in policing arising out of Macpherson report has resulted in the extermination of institutional racism. The Macpherson report began as a detailed inquiry into the failure of the metropolitan police to find the murderer of Stephen Lawrence (Stephens Story). Institutional racism is any kind of inequality built on race and can occur in any type of institution such as: schools, work place, public or government bodies and even in businesses. The police received a very dominant message regarding institutional racism and this came across very strong in the media and produced anger against the police force for not taking any action and not providing justice to the family of Stephen Lawrence (Jason. B, 2013). Police and citizens all over believed the services which were provided by the police force has improved since the Lawrence case. The Lawrence Inquiry perused attention to surrounded organisational practices and policies that result in a failure to provide a suitable service to minority ethnic communities. The definition used by the Inquiry included terms such as ‘unwitting prejudice’ and ‘racist stereotyping’ more suggestive of individual, not institutional racism (Janet et al, 2005). “My son was stereotyped by the police, he was black so he must be a criminal is what they thought” (Mr Lawrence’s mother) and Stephen himself and his family were investigated. The family believe Stephen was not a criminal and when he was attacked he was bleeding to death and the police did nothing to help him. All 17 officers involved in the investigation deny any racist accusation. According to statistics, black people were more likely to be involved in a criminal activity compared to whites and Asians. The police have now introduced a new system called “victim support” which helps victims talk about and express their feelings regarding any attacks or racism they have been involved with. The metropolitan police say they are training their officers to work in a non-racial way and to treat all victims proportionately (Jason. B, 2013). During the MacPherson report, there was no evidence found against the police as ever being racist or disadvantaging the ethnic minorities, also there was nil evidence to state the police would have handled another case differently with the victim being white or Asian. Despite what the report showed, hate crime was increasing and the fact that the murderer was not found and convicted made it look as though the police had not tried their level best (MacPherson report, 10 years on 1999). One main reason why the police are even today criticised for Stephens’s murder is because his mother read a statement stating the police just stood there around her son and did nothing to help and they...
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