- In the year April 2006 – March 2007, NMP dealt with approximately 187 cases;
- We made 29 referrals to external organisations;
- Almost all of our casework requires NMP intervention with statutory organisations (ie: Police, Council, Housing);
- The majority of our cases require the assistance of a lawyer;
- Nearly half of all our cases come in through the Emergency Service Helpline;
- The majority of our cases involve policing issues and increasingly cases associated with Anti-Terrorism policing;
- NMP’s main role in supporting cases continues to be repeated contact and pressure towards statutory agencies to respond appropriately, conduct a thorough investigation and to deliver a fair, speedy and effective outcome.
Who we work with (our client group)
East London has an extremely ethnically diverse population. NMP works predominantly in Newham, however our services extend to five other local boroughs: Waltham Forest, Hackney, Barking & Dagenham, Redbridge & Tower Hamlets.
In Newham alone, BME communities represent 61% of the local population with the white population being proportionally lower than anywhere else in the country. Whilst other boroughs with large BME communities, such as Tower Hamlets, have one dominant ethnic group, the largest BME groups from the total Newham population are Black African 13%, Indian 12% and Bangladeshi 8%. Newham is also home to a high Muslim population of 24.3%, the 2nd highest in the UK and has a high refugee and asylum seeker population. Newham also has a high proportion of young people with approximately 25% of the borough being under 20 years old. Newham has highest rate of youth poverty nationally and the second highest rate of unemployment [2001 Census information].
Race Hate Crime / Racial Harassment
In the past few years the local council’s housing policy on racial harassment cases has changed towards ‘perpetrator action’ meaning they attempt to take action against the perpetrator rather than just moving the ‘victim’. Whilst this may sound good in theory we have found the reality for our cases is NMP victims unable to name perpetrators are no longer re-housed. Also, responsibility for dealing with racial harassment is no longer focused on a central team; from our experience this has meant identifying where responsibility lies is confusing for victims and community groups.
Main areas of concern for NMP arising from our casework in 2006/7
- No dedicated Racial Harassment officer in council housing departments ie: specialist support not available to victims;
- Lack of support or options available for individuals / families who either cannot name perpetrators or do not wish to name them for fear of reprisal;
- Where a family is successfully moved into temporary accommodation, time taken to process case in order to move them into new permanent / return to previous accommodation;
- Difficulties for NMP / public obtaining relevant policies from councils regarding their policies and procedures on taking perpetrator action / targeting racial harassment;
- Lack of accessible information available to public on perpetrator action taken;
- From statistical information available, lack of perpetrator action actually taken by councils against perpetrators of Racial Harassment;
- Effectiveness of multi-agency work between the police, council and anti-social behaviour units, in particular lines of accountability and timescales.
- Stop & Search figures under PACE (Police and Criminal Evidence Act) for 2004 – 5 in the Metropolitan Police Area show a 4% increase from the previous year, up to 237,104. Of these 85,977 were of black people and 27,433 were of Asians, accounting for 47% of all those stopped. [Home Office Statistical Bulletin: Arrests for Recorded Crime (Notifiable Offences) and the Operation of Certain Police Powers under PACE, England and Wales 2004/5]. In London, Black and Asian communities represent less than 29% of the overall population [Census 2001 information];
- Stop & search figures for 2004 – 5 show black people are 6 times (although if the figures for London are excluded this falls to 4.9%, showing how high the stops rate for black people is in London) more likely and Asians 1.8 times more likely to be stopped than white people. This picture is backed up locally by our casework. [The Home Office report, Statistics on Race and Criminal Justice System 2005 (for England and Wales)];
- Whilst the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) identifies Newham as a priority borough for race-hate crime with 455 reported incidents in 2004-5, it has one of the lowest figures for actions against perpetrators with only 14 civil actions taken against perpetrators between 2001 – 4 including ASBO’s and injunctions. [London-wide Race Hate Crime Forum Annual Report 2004 – 5, MPA].
Main areas of concern for NMP arising from our casework in 2006/7
- Whether receipts for Stops & Searches are always being issued;
- The use of PCSO’s (Police Community Support Officers) to formally ‘stop’ people;
- That ‘reasonable grounds’ given by police for conducting Stops & Searches often translates for our cases to having just been the ‘wrong person’ in any given area at any time;
- Police response to reports of racial harassment / race hate crime;
- Arresting victims of racist crime rather than the perpetrator;
- Level and quality of investigation of racial harassment cases;
- Effectiveness of multi-agency work between the police, council and anti-social behaviour units;
- Many issues around effectiveness if Independent Police Complaints Commission.
- • In 2004 -5 there were 32,062 overall Searches under Section 44 of the Anti-terrorism 2000 Act, an increase of 9% nationally, of which 34% were of pedestrians. Of all those searches, 7% were of black people and 11% were Asians, despite BME communities representing less than 9% of the national population of England and Wales. Of the overall figures 40% took place in the Metropolitan Police area and 20% in the City of London area. Of the 10,941 Stops and Searches of pedestrians under Section 44 only 24 arrests related to terrorism were finally made, with no conviction rate available. [The Home Office report, Statistics on Race and Criminal Justice System 2005 (for England and Wales)];
- • British Transport Police figures of stops and searches under anti-terrorism laws from July 7th 2005 to August 10th 2005 show 6,747 stops of which the majority were in London. Of these 2,390 were of Asians; [source: Guardian]
- • East London has been a focus for anti-terror raids over the past 2 years. This has caused much fear and tension locally which has been reported to NMP.
Main areas of concern for NMP arising from our casework in 2006/7:
- Targeting of Muslim communities;
- The manner in which anti-terrorism raids are being conducted. In particular the treatment of people when raids are being conducted involving the use of unnecessary force, verbal abuse and not adhering to other codes of police conduct;
- The quality and scrutiny of ‘intelligence’ used to launch raids;
- The effectiveness and role of Police Family Liaison officers in supporting families after raids;
- The extent of damage to properties during raids and the failure of police to repair properties adequately before returning them to occupants. This aspect can be devastating to individuals;
- Leaks from police sources about raids and details of investigation, uncorroborated and incorrect ‘facts’ and lack of action taken against this by the Police;
- Media coverage of raids, in particular naming individuals and their addresses.
Feedback from our Cases 2006/7
From in-depth feedback interviews with NMP cases December 2006
- The majority of clients (in this study) had worked with other racial harassment, victim support, and voluntary sector bodies before contacting NMP;
- Most clients contacted NMP through personal referrals or in several cases by unofficial advice by government officers (individual police officers, victim support officers);
- The majority of clients had experienced frustration with the official racial harassment and police misconduct inquiry process and experienced racist treatment by officers;
- The majority of clients found that their cases or complaints were not taken seriously and frequently dismissed or ignored;
- Clients also found that most other organisations that they had worked with were more oriented towards achieving quick resolutions and did not push for high standards of accountability from relevant statutory bodies;
- Many clients reported that ethnic organisations and advice centres would offer good-faith support but did not have the specialist knowledge to deal with racial harassment or police misconduct;
- Some clients complained about the lack of visibility of NMP in the borough and lack of information concerning its services;
Feedback from individual cases in 2006/7
“Over the last 2 years they [NMP] have done so much work for me. If I knew someone in my situation I’d always recommend them to your organisation. They should get the support and help from you and it will help keep you going. NMP’s very good for the public. It’s rare talent to get that help these days.”
“NMP are very helpful and supportive compared to other departments that are supposed to help you. NMP is the best thing that has happened to me.”
“People feel the police are against them and there is nowhere to turn, NMP make you feel better that there is an organisation willing to push your case – this is particularly good to have someone doing this around racism. Police & solicitors have more respect when NMP are involved. Otherwise they’d dismiss us quicker.”