Month: April 2008

Casework Report 2007-2008


  • In the year April 2007 – March 2008, NMP dealt with approximately 142 cases;
  • We made 34 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 over the past year we have seen a rise in cases associated with ‘gang related violence’ and house raids;
  • 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 the highest rate of youth poverty nationally and the second highest rate of unemployment [2001 Census information].

Our casework service

NMP provides practical support, legal advice and assistance, predominantly to those from BME communities, experiencing discrimination in the following areas:

  • Policing and criminal justice system;
  • Dealing with racist incidents (including verbal/written abuse, physical abuse, criminal damage and other racist incidents);
  • Local authorities;
  • Housing;
  • Education (including admissions, exclusions, assessment & harassment).

Level of assistance provided

NMP provides people with assistance in seeking a fair and satisfactory outcome through:

  • • Information, advice & representation to people regarding issues of discrimination, dissatisfactory & unfair treatment from statutory bodies where they feel race is a factor;
  • Making complaints against the police and other statutory bodies and appeals against complaint outcome decisions;
  • Assisting people in bringing perpetrators of race-hate crime to court through representations to the police and / or other statutory agencies involved.

NMP has the Community Legal Service Quality Mark (General Help with Casework) for its casework service.

Casework Areas – Background and concerns

Race Hate Crime / Racial Harassment

Main areas of concern for NMP arising from our casework in 2007/8

  • 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


  • Stop & Search figures for the Metropolitan Police Area under PACE (Police and Criminal Evidence Act) have risen by more than 18% from the previous year to 280,735 in 2005-6. As with previous years black and minority ethnic people accounted for more than half of the incidents – 101,679 black people and 33,870 Asians (plus 8,846 of other ethnicities). In London, Black and Asian communities represent less than 29% of the overall population [Census 2001 information; and Ministry of Justice report, Statistics on Race and Criminal Justice System 2006 (for England and Wales)];
  • Nationally the figures for 2005–6 reveal the highest levels of stop and search incidents since 1998-9. Black people are now 7 times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people, compared with 6 times more likely in 2004-5. The overall rise in stop and searches is being partly driven by a disproportionate targeting of BME communities. This picture is backed up locally by our casework. [Ministry of Justice report, Statistics on Race and Criminal Justice System 2006 (for England and Wales)];
  • Since the London Bombings, stop and searches under Section 44 of the Anti-terrorism 2000 Act have increased by 34% to 44,543, disproportionately affecting black and minority ethnic populations, who accounted for 39% of the incidents. The increase has particularly targeted Asian communities with the number of Asians stopped in 2005-6 up by 84% from the previous year, compared to an increase of 51% for black people and 24% for whites. Over half of these searches took place in the Metropolitan Police area and 15% in the City of London area. The number of pedestrians stopped under Section 44 nearly doubled from the previous year to 19,064. Of these, only 59 arrests related to terrorism were finally made, with no conviction rate available. [Ministry of Justice report, Statistics on Race and Criminal Justice System 2006 (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]

Main areas of concern for NMP arising from our casework in 2007/8

  • Proposals to remove the receipts system for Stop & Search. This was a key mechanism to create accountability arising form the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry;
  • Proposals to increase Stop & Search to target gun & knife crime whilst statistical evidence available does not suggest it is an effective tool in comparison to intelligence-based policing;
  • Impact on youth of repeated Stop & Search incidents;
  • Injuries sustained by individuals under use of ‘reasonable force’ during arrest;
  • Treatment of individuals under arrest during transportation to police station in police vehicles / holding pens outside the police station;
  • Whether receipts for Stops & Searches are routinely being issued on the spot;
  • 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.

Policing – broader issues

The majority of NMP’s cases involve policing issues.

Main areas of concern for NMP arising from our casework in 2007/8

  • The issuing of Section 5 Public Order Offences to individuals – we have seen a sharp increase in people being given these following a minor altercation with police. We are keen to monitor the issuing of these through recording the experiences of people who have received one – please contact us if you would like to take part in this monitoring or require casework assistance in this area;
  • 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 and council departments;
  • Effectiveness of police complaints system including Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Anti-terror policing


East London has been a focus for anti-terror raids over the past few 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 2007/8

  • Targeting of Muslim communities;
  • Media coverage of raids, in particular naming individuals and revealing their own or family addresses;
  • We are concerned by many of the suggested legislative changes contained within the proposed Counter Terrorism Bill and are working alongside other organisations such as Inquest, Equality and Human Rights Commission and CAMPACC to challenge these.

House raids by Police

During 2007/8, NMP has seen an increase in cases experiencing raids on their homes, often repeatedly.

Main areas of concern for NMP arising from our casework in 2007/8

  • • The manner in which 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 anti-terrorism raids;
  • The extent of damage to properties during raids;
  • Lack of transparency, coherence or fairness within policies of police and council related to repairing properties adequately for occupants post-raid often leaving properties insecure. This aspect can be devastating to individuals;
  • Difficulties in obtaining items back from the police taken during a raid;
  • Leaks from police sources about raids and details of investigation, uncorroborated and incorrect ‘facts’ and lack of action taken against this by the Police.

Community Development Work

  • Intensive support to local Black Minority Ethnic / Refugee Community Organisations around building their capacity to respond effectively to reports of race-hate crime and policing issues
  • Over the past year NMP has jointly organised, with other local groups, 2 large community events held in East London (with over 300 participants attending altogether) aimed at raising awareness of individuals rights under anti-terror legislation;
  • Workshops with various local youth groups around policing and rights in relation to Stop & Search;
  • One-day participative-style workshop with young women students from BME backgrounds around rights, policing and accessing support. Excellent feedback received from the college. It has been agreed this will now be repeated yearly and additional sessions throughout the year are planned.