University of Leicester eBulletin

Leicester Academics Lead Groundbreaking Conference on Race and the Criminal Justice System

January 2003
No 15

University of Leicester Research in Suffolk Highlights Minority Ethnic Communities’ Concerns about Crime and the Criminal Justice System

New research conducted by academics at the University of Leicester has provided the stimulus for fresh action in Suffolk with regard to the criminal justice system’s relationship with minority ethnic communities.  

The Suffolk-based research, which examined minority ethnic communities’ attitudes towards crime and the criminal justice system, revealed disturbing levels of concern about many types of crime, high rates of victimisation and low confidence in the effectiveness of the criminal justice system. The most common failing of the criminal justice system was seen to be its inability to adequately meet the needs of victims of crime, whilst only a third of respondents felt the system had improved the way in which it deals with minority ethnic groups in the wake of the Stephen Lawrence enquiry.

The researchers, Jon Garland and Neil Chakraborti from the Scarman Centre, University of Leicester, have now been invited to lead a Home Office-sponsored conference designed to develop initiatives to improve relationships between criminal justice agencies and minority ethnic groups. The conference, which is to be held on January 23 at Ipswich Town Football Club, will bring together practitioners and representatives from a diverse range of backgrounds, and will also document the findings of the researchers’ previous study of racism in rural parts of the county.

Jon Garland, Research Fellow, said: ‘Our research has confirmed that action needs to be taken to bolster relations between criminal justice agencies and minority ethnic communities. The fear of crime and actual victimisation are major problems for these communities, and it is therefore imperative that they feel sufficiently confident in the criminal justice system’s ability to respond to their needs effectively’.

Neil Chakraborti, Research Officer, added: ‘The research has enabled Suffolk’s criminal justice agencies to identify the primary concerns of local communities. By organising a conference based on the research findings, these agencies now have an ideal opportunity to show how they can work towards improving existing levels of support for, and communication with, minority ethnic groups’. 


Jon Garland, Research Fellow, Scarman Centre, on 0116 252 5701 email
Neil Chakraborti, Research Officer, Scarman Centre, on 0116 252 5706 email

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