Race and the Criminal Justice System – Perception v Reality

Ethnic minorities are more likely than their Caucasian counterparts to be both suspected of and victims of crime in England and Wales, according to a landmark Government report that lays bare the deep-seated racial inequality across the country.

The Race Disparity Audit, launched by Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday, reveals that black, Asian and mixed-raced people were over one and a half times more likely to be arrested than white people last year.

The same group was also more likely to fall victim to crime than white people, with nearly one in five being hit by crime in 2015-16, compared with 15 per cent for white people.

The Mixed ethnic group were more likely to be victims of crime, despite the relatively low perceived likelihood for this group.


While overall arrests in England and Wales saw a decline of 5 per cent last year, a breakdown of ethnicity shows that while for white people the figure has fallen by 10 per cent, for ethnic minorities it has fallen by just 1 per cent.

Meanwhile, ethnic minority groups also emerged as being most likely to be victims of crime, at 19 per cent compared with 15 per cent of their white counterparts.

Although the proportion of white adults experiencing at least one crime fell from 17 per cent to 15 per cent in the three years to 2016, there was no significant change for ethnic minorities.

These figures are echoed in people’s fear of crime, with a smaller proportion of white adults reporting fear of crime compared with Asian adults, adults from other ethnicities and black adults. Asian adults and adults from the other ethnic background category had the highest levels of fear of crime.