Skip to Content

Report Finds Racist Law Enforcement In England...Again

'Injustice writ large'


London, UK -- Police and prosecutors scheme to secure convictions of persons who did not participate in any crime. Racial minorities disproportionately bear the brunt of this improper practice.

Sounds like too many cities across the United States.

However, this practice of racist law enforcement is also rampant in three of the largest cities in England, including the capital city of London, according to a report released recently by the Centre For Crime and Justice Studies of Manchester Metropolitan University.

“The key findings [indicate] the criminal justice system is more flawed than we might imagine,” states the conclusion of the report entitled “Dangerous associations: joint enterprise, gangs and racism.”

The study documents that claims by police in Britain that young blacks dominate gang membership and thus are demonstrably the most violent are incorrect. Police and court data cited in the report document that black youth were not those who committed the most serious youth violence. In London for example, police list blacks as 72 percent of that city’s gang members. But official data collected for the report stated non-blacks committed 73 percent of the serious youth violence in London.
Tottenham rights activist Scott with report co-authors Clarke (left) and Williams (right) -LBWPhotoTottenham rights activist Scott with report co-authors Clarke (left) and Williams (right) -LBWPhoto
The report found that prosecutors during trials of youthful suspects seize upon on the gang label levied by police to create a sinister perception of criminality that boost prosecutors chances of obtaining convictions. Prosecutors often push non-crime related ‘evidence’ such as listening to rap music and texting friends, particularly in cases where the defendant was not at the scene of the crime…or even where the defendant may not have known a crime would ever occur.

“The language of gangs is conflated with serious violence,” report co-author Becky Clarke said when presenting findings of the report during a presentation at Parliament attended by members of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Clarke is a Senior Lecturer in the Sociology Department of Manchester Metropolitan University.

Clarke’s co-author colleague, Patrick Williams, noted during an earlier presentation that “just because someone is from the same area and is a certain color does not make them a gang member.” Williams, a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Manchester Metropolitan University, said there are racially prejudicial purposes in the gang labeling done by police in Britain.

The report leveled particular criticism at Britain’s infamous Joint Enterprise Law, an enforcement mechanism that is literally ‘guilt by association.’ Under this law imprisonment can occur for a crime that the person did not commit or even know about. While the report found disproportionate use of Joint Enterprise against blacks, there is also a class-based application with JE with its use often against working-class and poor whites.

story | by Dr. Radut