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To What Extent Do the Official Statistics on Crime and Ethnicity Provide a Valid Picture of the Criminal Activities of Ethnic Minorities?


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To what extent do the official statistics on crime and ethnicity provide a valid picture of the criminal activities of ethnic minorities?

The purpose of official statistics is to provide us with an unbiased, objective and informative look at crime rates within the UK. However, although the statistics themselves may, to a certain extent, be reliable, the way in which they are obtained is not. Police in different areas may deem certain areas of crime a priority and thus report and record these accordingly. Also, biases within the system itself against those from ethnic minorities may affect the resulting statistics to portray an uneven account of criminal activity.

The relationship between crime rates and ethnicity is extremely complex due to other factors such as the difficulty of identifying a person’s ethnic origin and the cultural and social differences between ethnic groups. It has been shown on a variety of occasions that male black youths are disproportionately selected by the police to be ‘stopped and searched’; this then results in higher numbers of black youths being charged with offences as they have been caught doing so. However, the same crimes are probably being committed by other subcultures within society, but as both the media and police do not focus on them, they are not being seen.

There are many flaws with official statistics and therefore their reliability. For example, there are sections of crime that are not dealt with by the police; the management as opposed to involving an outside force, for example, may deal with crimes within a company. Also, not all crimes would be recorded or reported by the police, for example it has been shown that police are willing to let middle class youths ‘get away’ with more as they believe that they will grow out of such behaviour and become high achieving

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