Outline And Assess Sociological Explanations Of The Relationship Between Ethnicity And Crime Notes
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Outline and assess sociological explanations of the relationship between ethnicity and crime. Only 10% of the population of the UK are made up of different ethnic groups, including over 150 types of ethnic groups. It can be argued that the evidence shows that the procedures, practices and values of the Criminal Justice System (CJS) lead to the criminalisation of particular social groups. As a result of the CJS dominantly featuring male, white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestants (WASPs) reflects the interest of the majority, the dominated ethnic group, which impacts on laws and law enforcements based on the decisions dominantly made by male WASPs, possibly resulting in institutional racism. Trends and patterns show that black minority ethnic groups (BMEGs) tend to be over-represented- that is to say they are represented disproportionately in relation to their population as a whole. For example, AfroCaribbeans make up a mere 2% of the UK population, yet they make up 12% of the prison population. Afro-Caribbeans are also proven to be most likely to be stopped and searched, making South-Asians second most likely to be stopped and searched. This may be a result of criminal activities being associated with certain types of social groups, based on factors such as, class, age and gender, not solely ethnicity groups. Self report studies show that 44% of Afro Caribbean and 43% of young white people have similar rates of offending yet South Asians have the lowest rates of offending at 27% (Graham & Bowling 1995). However Official Crime Statistics (OCS) evidentially shows that BMEGs are more likely to be involved in criminal activity. Could this be a result of invalid data or could this be argued as a result of racism?
Are BMEGs and South-Asians more criminal that the indigenous white population?
The occupational culture of the police is based on creating solidarity through teamwork, jokes and banter; this may involve stereotyping people of a certain ethnicities or cultures. Various studies have found that derogatory racist stereotypes of BMEs are common amongst a largely white police force and reinforce a negative perception of BMEs are common amongst a largely white police force and often reinforces a negative perception of BMEs (smith & Gray 1995; Holdaway 1996; Graef 1990). Police culture often involves members of the force identifying certain social groups as more likely to mean crime; studies show that afro-Caribbean males and more recently Muslim males are regarded with suspicion (Klara, 2003). This link with ethnicity and crime within the police force inevitably leads to police discretion, in which police stop and search on the basis of 'reasonable suspicion'. Evidentially showing that the British Crime Surveys (BCS) reveal that BMEs have a higher stop and search rate than any other ethnic group, members of the police force often discriminate based on stereotypes which play a key factor in stop and search. Studies show a 70% rise in number of black and Asian people being stopped and searched, in which figures reveal that black people are seven times more likely to be stopped than white people (Alan Travis. The Guardian: 2010). Interactionists would argue this as a result of certain ethnic groups being labelled and stereotyped; in
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