Monday, 2 December 2013

Open Invite: Race & Criminal Justice Roundtable

Dear Colleges,

As you may the Government has released the latest figures highlighting racial disproportionality within the Criminal Justice system in England and Wales for the years 2010 - 2012. The report, includes, for the first time, accurate data reporting a frightening level of racial disproportionality in our courts. Key findings include;

  • 1.5 million Black. Asian and ethnic minority  people subjected to stop and search since 2008
  • Black and Asian defendants more likely to receive custodial sentences despite having less extensive criminal antecedents than white offenders.
  • 7% increase in use of stop and search.

In addition the Drugs Charity Release has published a report analysing drug stop and search interventions by Police Officers. Here again this report highlights the extent to which black communities are being criminalised as a consequences of massive rises in the use of stop & search and the clear discrimination that results in Black people being 50% more likely to be charged with Cannabis offences and a remarkable 70% more likely to be charged with Cocaine offences. I have written articles on this that provide a more in depth analysis here

The Equality and Human Rights Commission and Her Majesties Inspectorate of Constabularies have both highlighted serious concerns re the Police use of Stop and Searches powers.

My own conclusion is that over the last five years Black Asian and ethnic minority peoples have seen a huge increases in racially profiling by the Police using the suspicion of drugs possession as the means to  criminalise communities at an alarming rate. 

These reports provide real evidence of an escalating trend of institutionalised racism within policing and the criminal justice system. This raises the question as to how we can work together to tackle these issues and ensure they are placed on the political and media agenda.

To that end I have organised an initial roundtable discussion among organisations and individuals  working or with an interest in this issue with a view to:

  • hear what about the work of other organisations on this issue
  • to exchange information on the response of Government, regulatory and inspection authorities to these issues
  • to explore the possibilities of joint action designed to highlight this issue

The meeting will take place on December 11th 2013 at Portcullis House Westminster at 6pm/ Allow 15 minutes to clear security

Please RSVP you attendance to me and do feel free to share this information with other interested parties.


Lee Jasper