Statistics on race and the criminal justice system 2010
Biennial statistics on the representation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups as victims, suspects, offenders and employees in the Criminal Justice System.
These reports are released by the Ministry of Justice and produced in accordance with arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.
This report provides information about how members of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BME) Groups in England and Wales were represented in the Criminal Justice System (CJS) in the most recent year for which data were available, and, wherever possible, across the last five years. Section 95 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 requires the Government to publish statistical data to assess whether any discrimination exists in how the CJS treats people based on their race.
These statistics are used by policy makers, the agencies who comprise the CJS and others to monitor differences between ethnic groups and where practitioners and others may wish to undertake more in-depth analysis. The identification of differences should not be equated with discrimination as there are many reasons why apparent disparities may exist.
The most recent data on victims showed differences in the risks of crime between ethnic groups and, for homicides, in the relationship between victims and offenders. Overall, the number of racist incidents and racially or religiously aggravated offences recorded by the police had decreased over the last five years. Key Points:
- The 2010/11 British Crime Survey (BCS) showed that the risk of being a victim of personal crime was higher for adults from a Mixed background than for other ethnic groups. It was also higher for members of all BME groups than for the White group.
- Over the five-year period 2006/07 to 2010/11, there was a statistically significant fall in the risk of being a victim of personal crime for members of the White group of 0.8%. The apparent decrease for those from BME groups was not statistically significant.
- Of the 2,007 homicides recorded for the latest three-year period (2007/08 to 2009/10), 75% of victims were White, 12% Black and 8% Asian.
- In the majority of homicide cases, victims were suspected of being killed by someone from the same ethnic group, which is consistent with previous trends (88% of White victims, 78% of Black victims and 60% of Asian victims).
Per 1,000 population, higher rates of s1 Stop and Searches were recorded for all BME groups (except for Chinese or Other) than for the White group. While there were decreases across the last five years in the overall number of arrests and in arrests of White people, arrests of those in the Black and Asian group increased.
- Per 1,000 of the population, Black persons were Stopped and Searched 7.0 times more than White people in 2009/10 compared to 6.0 times more in 2006/07.
- When referring to the rate per 1,000 population for England and Wales, it is important to bear in mind that the higher rate than that obtained for the rest of England and Wales(excluding the Metropolitan Police Service) is the product of the aggregation of 42 police force areas (PFAs), each with different distributions of both ethnic population and use of Stop and Search powers. While the area served by the Metropolitan Police Service accounts for 14% of the England and Wales population, 43% of s1 Stop and Searches are carried out by the Metropolitan Police Service.
- Across England and Wales, there was a decrease (just over 3%) in the total number of arrests in 2009/10 (1,386,030) compared to 2005/06 (1,429,785). While the number of arrests for the White group also decreased during this period, arrests of Black persons rose by 5% and arrests of Asian people by 13%.
- Overall, there were more arrests per 1,000 population of each BME group (except for Chinese or Other) than for people of White ethnicity in 2009/10. Black persons were arrested 3.3 times more than White people, and those from the Mixed ethnic group 2.3 times more.
- In 2009/10, just over 9% of s1 Stop and Searches compared with 12%, 4% and 1% respectively in 2006/07.
Data on out of court disposals and court proceedings show some differences in the sanctions issued to people of differing ethnicity and also in sentence lengths. These differences are likely to relate to a range of factors including variations in the types of offences committed and the plea entered, and should therefore be treated with caution. Key points:
- Conviction ratios for indictable offences were higher for White persons in 2010 than for those in the Black and Asian groups (81% for White, 74% for Black, and 77% for Asian).
- A higher percentage of those in the BME groups were sentenced to immediate custody for indictable offences than in the White group in 2010 (White 23%, Black 27%, Asian 29% and Other 42%). This may in part be due to differences in plea between ethnic groups.
- In 2010, the highest average custodial sentence length (ACSL) for those given determinate sentences for indictable offences was recorded for the Black ethnic group, at 20.8 months, followed by the Asian and Other groups with averages of 19.9 months and 19.7 months respectively. The lowest ACSL was recorded for the White group at 14.9 months.
The ethnic distribution of those under supervision and in prison has remained relatively stable over the last five years. In terms of prisoners’ behaviour in custody, individuals from the White ethnic group continue to account for the vast majority of self-inflicted deaths and self-harm incidents in prison. Key points:
- On 30 June 2010, the total prison population in England and Wales was 85,002. Of these, 21,878 prisoners (just under 26%) were from BME groups. This proportion is consistent with that recorded from 2006 to 2009 (when it was between 26%-27%).
- As in previous years, the vast majority (just over 88% of the total 58 recorded in 2010) of self-inflicted deaths involved prisoners of White ethnicity. Over 80% of self-harm incidents in 2010 also involved White prisoners. This is similar to past years when over four-fifths of self-harm incidents were among White prisoners.
Staff and practitioners
The representation of people from the BME group as employees and at senior levels in CJS agencies varied substantially. Key points:
- The CPS and the Probation Service appeared to have the highest proportion of BME staff (of those considered), with more than 14% of staff in each from a BME background in the most recent year available.
- The Police and the Judiciary appeared to have the lowest proportions with fewer than 5% from a BME group. High proportions of staff with unknown ethnicity for both the CPS and the Judiciary, mean that these findings should be treated with caution, however.
The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.
Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:
- meet identified user needs;
- are well explained and readily accessible;
- are produced according to sound methods, and
- are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest.
Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.
The bulletin is produced and handled by the ministry’s analytical professionals and production staff. Pre-release access of up to 24 hours is granted to the following persons:
Ministry of Justice: Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice; Minister of State Criminal Justice; Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Justice; Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice; Permanent Secretary; Press Office; Special Advisor; Director General, Justice Policy Group; MoJ Policy Director for Corporate Performance; Chief Social Researcher; Head of Sentencing Policy and Penalties Unit; Head of Neighbourhood Justice Unit; Head of Strategy; Policy lead for Equalities; Policy lead for Victims; Policy lead for Hate Crime; Policy lead for PNDs; Policy lead for Cautions; Policy lead for Sentencing; Policy lead on judicial diversity; and NOMs policy lead for probation and prisons.
Home Office: Home Secretary; Statistics Head of Profession; Policy lead for Stop and Search; Home Office Press Officer.
Office of the Attorney General: Attorney General.
CPS: Equality and Diversity Unit Officer.
ACPO: Diversity lead.
NPIA: Policy lead for Stop and Search and Police Personnel Data.
Judiciary: Senior Presiding Judge.
EHRC: Policy manager (Stop and search and arrests)
Other MoJ publications containing statistics (quarterly and annual) on ethnicity
Criminal Justice Statistics
Offender Management Statistics Quarterly
Safety in Custody