To what extent has the policing of ethnic minorities been affected by the Scarman Report and the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry?

Essay by italiantoni January 2005

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Throughout recent history the relationship between the British police and minority groups has been greatly tested. This is evident through such events as the Brixton riots (1981) and more recently the Bradford riots (2001). Britain is a multi-racial society and members of the ethnic minority community can face particular problems, such as racially motivated attacks and harassment. This often leads to distrust from minority groups towards the police, as the minority groups may feel they have no support from the police which can lead to tension. Throughout this essay I will be concentrating on the Scarman Report and the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry with regards to the effects they have had on the policing of ethnic minorities. I will also be examining the methods of social control used by the police such as stop and search, as well as police recruitment of ethic minorities etc.

Ethnic minorities

Today, people from ethnic minorities, and the cultures they have brought with them, are integral to life in Britain.

They have contributed hugely to British culture and life in general. However far too often people from minority groups are singled out for discrimination and are often the victims of hate crime.

People from ethnic minorities face a greater risk of being victims of crime than white people. This is largely because of socio-economic and demographic factors. Ethnic minorities, especially Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Caribbeans, tend to be younger, poorer, more likely to be unemployed, and more likely to live in high crime inner city areas than whites, all factors which aggravate the chances of being a victim of crime.

(Chan 1997)

The problem of racism is a difficult one, despite policies and training, police organizations are racist and proportional representation of all communities are minimal. Since the 1980s there have been far reaching changes...