Back to Top

Blogs

The Mayor’s Knife Crime Strategy – Reversing the Upward Trend?

Jul 10, 2017

 

`We must not accept that crime and violence is a foregone conclusion for any young person in London regardless of their circumstances’

`We must not submit to a counsel of despair that some of our most troubled young people are beyond help. We will not give up on them.’

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Sadiq Khan speaks for many Londoners in the foreword to his knife crime strategy. His passion and determination are undoubtedly genuine and it’s difficult to imagine many other politicians making such statements with such authenticity and resolution.

Knife crime in London is on the up, as the strategy details, but more worryingly it feels increasingly embedded within the city’s way of life. There is a routine nature to the headlines, an exasperated acceptance every time news breaks of another incident or fatality. It’s uplifting to see political leadership from the Mayor but does he have the right approach and will his plan deliver?

There is a lot to welcome in the strategy, with its emphasis on improving coordination across agencies, involving communities, listening to young people and supporting neighbourhood policing where, hopefully, the focus is as much on building relationships and trust as it is on making arrests. Unfortunately, there are some very real problems with the strategy and we would like to highlight a few of them.

Undoubtedly the police have a key role to play in the enforcement of the law. However, it’s clear that enforcement on its own cannot address knife crime. After reading the strategy we are left with a sense that we are still enforcement-led in our approach and mind-set. The strategy’s support of stop and search as an effective technique to address knife crime is expected but none the less disappointing.

The Criminal Justice Alliance has just launched No Respect - a briefing on the experience of young BAME people and stop and search. It’s a powerful document highlighting the very real damage police stop and search has on the lives of young BAME people. The document presents the voices of young people and their experiences and alludes to the failure of our institutions to learn from the lessons of the past.

There is also the issue of what is happening in our schools with regards to exclusions. We know from research and data that school exclusion is a clear predictor to criminality. There is an over representation of BAME, and particularly black boys, in these figures. Yet the strategy has no mention of the role schools play in exclusion and the kind of approaches that can prevent it.

Involving and listening to young people has a prominent position within the strategy and that is to be commended. However, we have to push the boundaries further in this area. There is a role here for people who have been through the justice system to mentor and challenge communities and to show change is possible. We need to engage young people who have been both victims and perpetrators. This will undoubtedly be demanding and difficult and we need challenging academic research to inform our thinking on the drivers behind the violence and what can be done differently to prevent it. Learning from the perpetrators must be part of this process.   

The strategy highlights the over-representation of young BAME people and specifically black males in the figures for victims and perpetrators of knife crime. At BTEG we had hoped it would then go into further exploration of this, linking it with the over representation of young BAME people in the youth and adult justice systems and possibly the pros and cons of specific targeted interventions for this group. It should have at the very least posed the question for CJS agencies and their partners as to how they are performing in relation to these groups?

Why does this matter?

Ethnic disproportionality in our CJS is a contributing factor that embeds knife crime amongst a minority of young people. We need responses that can facilitate change earlier, empowers communities and crucially builds the concept of legitimacy amongst communities whose trust of institutions, and in particular the justice system, has been a long standing issue in police/community relations in our city. The Mayor’s commitment to raise trust in the police amongst Londoners is welcomed but there must be a focused effort from the police to address the very low levels of trust amongst London’s BAME communities particularly its young people.

We welcome the Mayor’s leadership on an issue where for too long there hasn’t been enough visible leadership. Certainly the launch of the Lammy Review in September provides an opportunity to address some of the specific concerns we raise in relation to young BAME people particularly around the youth justice system.

BTEG will of course keep engaging with the Mayor and support the strategy in whatever way we can. 

Tackling hate crime and building stronger communities in the East Midlands

May 09, 2017

Guest blog by Shamsher Chohan, Director, Communities Inc

Communities Inc was established in 2011 as a dynamic social enterprise to bring innovation and creativity to address the needs of communities, organisations and businesses. Our social purpose is to build stronger communities by tackling the inequalities faced by the most disadvantaged groups in society.

Funded by the Big Lottery Fund Reaching Communities programme for three years, Building Stronger Communities builds on several smaller pilot projects that trailed different approaches and worked with specific communities to raise awareness and improve access to hate crime reporting. The intended outcomes of the project are:

1.To build relationships and improve interactions between diverse communities through increased participation and engagement in community initiatives

2.To build the capacity of community groups to respond to victims of hate crime and develop cohesion activities

3.To improve the knowledge and confidence of victims of hate crime in hate crime reporting and accessing support services

These are being delivered through a series of activities which include exchange visits and community dialogues which bring together different people to promote increased understanding or to tackle common problems.

.Our project is responsive to local issues and needs. Consequently during the first year a significant part of our work was centred around the aftermath of the EU referendum result, which saw an increase in hostility and hate crime, not just in Nottingham, but also nationally. Our local community research showed that in the most diverse area of Nottingham (Hyson Green), 67% of people we talked to felt ‘less safe’ than before the result. This led us to develop initiatives to raise the awareness around hate crime in the wider community, with a focus on public transport. Our partnership with Nottingham Trams Ltd made our hate crime awareness leaflets available on all 37 trams across the city,  which have an annual ridership of over 11 million. We are also in the process of training over 20 trainers at Nottingham City Transport, who will cascade our hate crime awareness information to over 800 staff working on the buses across the city.

Furthermore, our Love not Hate event was an opportunity to bring together public and voluntary/community sector stakeholders to discuss Brexit, hate crime and cohesion, as we approached the invocation of article 50.

Attended by over 120 delegates, the event provided a valuable space for people to share their thoughts, experiences and suggestions for future action, which are likely to dominate our second and third years activities.

Community dialogues are a central part of the Building Communities Project and have become a vehicle for new social change initiatives, where support or provision is weak for minority communities. For example, our Over 50’s LGBT+ dialogue identified loneliness as a major issue preventing people feeling like they belong in the community. Following this, a larger event has looked at this in more detail and a new group is emerging to tackle the issues raised and address the concerns people have.

Going forward we are looking at more initiatives aimed at addressing negative stereotypes that are fuelling hostility  and creating divisions in communities. We are also keen to look at how bystanders can be empowered to take action and support victims of hate and hostility.

Communities Inc has fast become the leading provider of community cohesion and hate crime awareness work in the East Midlands receiving the award for Upstanding Organisation in the first National Hate Crime Awards in 2016.   For more information please contact me on shamsher@communitiesinc.org.uk or visit our website on www.communitesinc.org.uk   

Jobs for black male graduates: it’s not adding up

Mar 30, 2017

                                    

Last week BBC London News reported that London’s black male graduates are less likely to get jobs.

The BBC contacted 50 of London’s 500 leading graduate employers to find out how many young black males they hired last year. Only 11 provided the information, which showed that of 1,803 graduates recruited in 2016, 30 were black males. Shockingly, of the 112 graduates taken on by the NHS in 2016 none were black men.

BTEG has been looking at the numbers and they just don’t add up……

  • 30 black males out of 1,803 recruits is less than 2%. We know from the 2011 Census that around 7% of young people (age 20 to 24) in London are black males. If 7% of the graduate recruits reported to the BBC were black males that would be nearer to 130 - that’s a lot more than 30.

  • Of course we don’t know how many recent graduates in London are black males and we don’t know how many black males applied for the 1,803 jobs that were reported to the BBC. We do know that fewer black males have a degree-level qualification compared with young men from other ethnic groups; in London, a young black man is only half as likely to have a degree as a young Asian man.

  • We also know (from the Annual Population Survey) that the unemployment rate in London for black male graduates is twice as high as the rate for white male graduates. And we know that in 2016, in London, more than 2,000 young black men with a degree were unemployed and looking for a job.

What the numbers do add up to is a playing field for young black male graduates that is far from even. There is no shortage of qualified young black men in London looking for career opportunities, but there is an apparent shortage of companies running graduate schemes that are successfully recruiting young black men. More companies need to make sure that their own equalities policies and recruitment practices are adding up to fair opportunities for young black men.

Moving on Up

Moving on Up aims to increase employment opportunities for young black men in London. The programme is for all young black men in London who want to find work and for all employers in London who want to recruit from this pool of talented young people.

To find out more about Moving on Up please visit http://www.bteg.co.uk/movingonup/campaign

Moving on Up is holding an event on Monday 10 April 2017, at EY in More London, to explore what construction and development companies can do to create more employment opportunities for young black men in London. Any young black men, with or without qualifications, are welcome to attend. Any employers, particularly from the construction and development sectors are welcome to attend.

For more information and to book a place at this event please go to:  http://bit.ly/2mINVjL  

Contact:                 Jeremy Crook OBE, Chief Executive
                              Tel: 020 7832 5810
                                      E-mail: Jeremy@bteg.co.uk

 

Why volunteering is important young BAME people

Mar 15, 2017

I recently graduated from university, where I have gained valuable knowledge but, unfortunately, not the practical experience and skills relevant to my chosen career path which is supporting people into employment. 
To overcome this gap, I am currently volunteering at BTEG, which not only builds up my self-confidence, networking skills and exposure to the working environment but also directly links me to opportunities in line with my career aspirations. It will also boost my CV and increase my chances to get paid employment not only because of the practical experience gained, but also because employers are impressed by people using their initiative. The placement also works nicely alongside my current job in retail.
I believe work placements and volunteering are important. The opportunity to gain relevant skills and experience is invaluable. My previous work placements helped me to develop my experience and key skills such as customer assistance, communication and exposure to the retail environment. This was a key factor in my success in securing paid work. 
In summary I believe the advantages of volunteering are:
  • Boosting of self-confidence and self esteem.

  • Developing transferable skills

  • Learning new skills. 

  • Meeting new people and keeping them as contacts for the future. 

  • Making a positive impact in the community. 

  • Taking part in challenging projects/roles.

  • Enhancing your CV.

I would encourage any young person finding it hard to get a job to contact BTEG's Tebussum Rashid -Tebussum@bteg.co.uk - who manages the Work Placements 4 Me project, which will help you to find a work placement in the area that you want to work.  

BAME young people spend longer in education than young white people but have fewer employment rewards

Feb 08, 2017

 

On the 7th of December I attended BTEG’s third and final ‘Inspire and Challenge’ lecture marking the charity’s 25th anniversary. The lecture, at SOAS University of London, highlighted the difficulties experienced by young BAME people in the education system and employment compared with the far fewer barriers that young white people face.

Jeremy Crook OBE, BTEG’s Chief Executive opened with an eye-opening presentation of the current statistics regarding young BAME people’s lack of notable success in higher education and employment compared to white people. Some of the statistics highlighted included:

  • Only 10% of apprentices in England are from BAME backgrounds but 25% of applications are from BAME people 
  • Black graduates are around twice as likely as white graduates to be unemployed (8% compared with 4%)
  • Fewer BAME graduates are in full time professional jobs than white graduates (45% compared with 51%)
  • BME employment rate is 62.7% compared to white employment rate 75.4%

Guest speakers Femi Bola MBE, of the University of East London and Dr Sham Qayyum, of SOAS, detailed the ways in which educational institutions can equip ethnic minorities to succeed in the local and global workforce, as well as the effects of recent political events such as Brexit and the rise of right wing populism.

BAME people have always had a conscious awareness of our limited successes in higher education and employment and our underrepresentation in various sectors has always been apparent. Yet, as a young South Asian person, the substantial data – collected over several years – that irrefutably backs up that awareness is still incredibly disheartening. It is no wonder that BAME people leave college and university with a negative outlook of our chances of success in the job market, and the stereotypes that have inhibited us throughout our academic lives also do so in employment.

As young white people already have the statistical advantage of gaining professional positions right out of university it is all the more necessary for young BAME people take the initiative and responsibility to be aware of all potential opportunities available to us in the job market. Enhancing practical skills and a willingness to pursue entrepreneurial career paths is important, but it is also essential that we encourage strong self-belief and resilience both personally and within our communities.

To be clear, the onus of being responsible for our success is not entirely on us. As Femi Bola reiterated, schools and colleges have a responsibility to better prepare BAME students going into university for the challenges they will face. We are not walking the same paths as our parents, many of whom have had their own preferred visions of what their children should do with their lives. Schools and colleges need to work with BAME parents to help them to encourage their children to pursue their own ambitions and not fall into a spiral of regret by the end of their academic career.

Racism, and the unwillingness to increase awareness of racial discrimination on part of educational institutions, must be called out. Schools, colleges and universities have an obligation to scrutinise their own institutions to ensure young BAME people’s academic success is not hampered due to racism among staff and the student body, as well as take the initiative to give BAME students the tools and awareness to tackle discrimination in education, as well as the job market.

BTEG on secondment at the Big Lottery Fund

Nov 15, 2016

I have just completed, on behalf of BTEG, a 21 day secondment at the Big Lottery Fund. I spent time in Birmingham, London and Newcastle with staff from the Fund.

21 days doesn’t sound like much time but it was over a six month period, with a specific focus.

Earlier in the year, the Fund offered the opportunity for a Skills Swap. It enabled staff at the Fund to spend time with Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee (BAMER) organisations to find out more about how they operate.

The Fund was undertaking a range of equalities work across the organisation so, in addition, the Fund invited a BAMER organisation to consider working with them, providing a ‘critical friend’ view of how they make decisions around awarding grants on their Awards for All and Reaching Communities programme and to give an external perspective on grants that BAMER-led organisations typically apply for and to offer recommendations on whether improvements could be made.

The secondment would be an opportunity for the Fund to be challenged on its assumptions and processes to see where it could be more inclusive in awarding its grants.  

The secondment was offered via the BAMER Cross Funder Alliance Group. BTEG decided to apply as we were interested in supporting the Fund to be as inclusive as they could be, and to increase the number of high quality applications and the number of grants being awarded to BAMER-led organisations.

Has BTEG’s input made a difference?

BTEG shared its thoughts on how the Fund can extend its reach to engage and have open and transparent conversations with BAMER-led groups.  We offered recommendations around capturing, recording and using local intelligence – with a view to improving success rates for BAMER-led organisations. Also, we provided the Fund with a viewpoint on the challenges faced by BAMER-led organisations as they try to navigate their way through the funding application process.

Staff at the Fund were left with lots of ideas to consider to take forward their equalities work and further support BAMER-led organisations. The secondment, and our own experiences of applying for funding, also means we can feed back through our networks how organisations can better position themselves to apply for funding and strengthen their applications.

Could this be replicated by other Funders?

This approach could definitely be replicated by other funders. BTEG will be reporting back to the Cross Funder Alliance about the secondment and how this could happen.

Both BTEG and the Big Lottery Fund found this experience beneficial for them and useful to organisations more widely. Having an organisation with a race equality background can provide the perspective a funder needs to honestly critique how inclusive it is when awarding grants.

Any such secondment would need to be entered into with a true spirit of collaboration, with both organisations being clear on what they hope to get out it.

Other things to consider would be:

  • Ensuring the right fit between organisation and secondee – an informal face to face chat is essential

  • Being very specific about what the remit is/what the secondee should focus on…

  • …whilst being flexible about how this is undertaken

  • Identifying from the start what are the expected outputs and outcomes

  • Arranging for the secondee to be part of the host organisation’s induction and making them truly feel as though they are a part of the organisation

  • Having a named person, at a senior level in the organisation, to champion the work and open doors if need be

  • Having a person in the organisation to organise logistics (meetings, travel, booking rooms, sorting expenses etc.)

For more information, contact Indra Pooran indra@bteg.co.uk

All London Voices reception and seminar at London’s City Hall

Oct 26, 2016

`London’s a great city but certain things need to change and opportunities made available to everyone regardless if you are rich or poor or black or white’

All London Voices was a consultation project led by BTEG on behalf of the Coalition of Race Equality Organisations (CORE) and was funded by a grant from Trust for London. Ahead of the London mayoral election in May 2016, it aimed to find what young BAME (black Asian and minority ethnic) Londoners thought the new Mayor’s priorities should be. A final report was launched in July 16.

On the 13 October CORE and BTEG, with support from the Mayor’s Young Advisors Team, held an event at City Hall which presented and discussed the report's findings. Deputy Mayors Joanne McCartney and Matthew Ryder addressed the audience.

Joanne McCartney is Sadiq Khan’s Deputy Mayor for Education and Childcare and talked about the administration’s commitment to addressing inequality and ensuring all communities get fair access to opportunities in London.

Matthew Ryder is a leading human rights lawyer and QC, and the Deputy Mayor for social integration and social mobility. He spoke about the need to do more to hear the voices of young people and communities to inform the development of policy and praised CORE’s effort to find out the views of young people and share these with the mayoral candidates. He made a strong commitment to engage with CORE, wider civil society in London and faith and user groups. Both Deputy Mayors agreed to meet representatives of CORE on their specific briefs.

The 50 or so attendees also heard from Mark Blake who gave a brief overview of the report. He stressed four points from the report:

  • Civil Society groups working on race equality, such as those in CORE, must do more to work with BAME young people

  • Racism and discrimination hadn’t gone away

  • The challenge of growing economic inequality is impacting hardest on London’s BAME communities

There were also three presentations on work engaging young people across the capital:

  • Kismet Meyon, one of the Mayor’s Young Advisors, spoke about her work within the team at City Hall that informs Mayoral policy with the views of young people, in particular the challenges facing young people from poorer backgrounds in the capital going into higher education

  • Deje Adeoshun, from Hackney CVS, talked about the work the CVS had been developing around improving outcomes for young black men, in partnership with the local council and the team of peer advocates recruited to lead this important work

  • Abdul Hasnath, from the Osmani Trust, gave a short talk on the work of the Trust in supporting vulnerable young people through proactive youth and community work.

Abdul also gave a touching anecdote about one of the young men interviewed in a focus group for the All London Voices project. A few weeks after the focus group, the young man was stabbed in an incident in the local area. He got in touch with the team at Osmani who were able to support him both in getting medical attention in the immediate aftermath and by giving him support and wise counsel. This probably averted a scenario where he and his friends would have sought retribution.

This provided a salient reminder that the challenges facing young people, from inequality and lack of opportunities to youth violence, are interlinked and that the role of civic society and the community in supporting and guiding them is absolutely crucial

CORE will be looking at how the foundations set out in this project can be built upon. It was a really positive night.

Work experience is vital for young people

Oct 18, 2016
 
 “Work experience” are words that surely lead to immediate eye-rolls and downcast sighs for most young people.
 
We’re always told that work experience and placements are essential for building up our CVs. We need to impress prospective employers. We need to create a foundation for the first steps in our careers. 
 
Let’s be clear, it is undeniable that improving your chances of finding a job can depend on the type and amount of work experience you’ve accrued, but the idea of having to perform tedious admin tasks for any length of time can be mind-numbing. 
 
However, what our careers officers, parents and councillors may not have told us is that there are many work experience opportunities out there that encourage you to take on stimulating roles and responsibilities. They can also be a valuable opportunity when you’re not sure of what kind of career path you want to pursue. Rather than spend weeks, or even months, in a work placement you’re not keen on, you can split your time over several short term placements in various fields and sectors, giving yourself a sample of the many options available to you (whilst giving a significant boost to the ‘work experience’ section of your CV!) 
 
Work experience shows potential employers that you care about the job you’re applying for and that you’ve put in the time and effort to get first-hand knowledge and experience of their field of work. You’ll be seen as well-equipped to handle the job role’s responsibilities.
 
I’ve found, from personal experience, that work placements are an excellent way of introducing young people to the wider world of employment. We’re often thrown in the deep end with regards to understanding workplace culture and expectations - communication, presentation, use of space and behaviour, the protocols to follow and of course the diversity of personalities. Work experience shows you how to navigate workplace politics in different sectors and environments. At the same time, it can highlight your strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to focus on the  aspects you need to improve. 
 
In today’s market good grades are simply not enough  to secure a decent job in your chosen area of interest. So networking through work experience is vital. Building up contacts with various employers will get your name out there as a potential employee with enough knowledge and experience to be well-suited to fill a vacancy. Not only could you more easily secure a job, but recommendations to and from other employers could follow.
 
BTEG is aware of the difficulties young people are facing today in pursuing a job in line with their aspirations and career goals, as well as securing relevant work experience.  In response to this, we have developed a new programme called ‘Work Placements 4 ME’, funded by the City Bridge Trust. The programme secures work placement opportunities for young people aged 18-30, suited to their individual goals and interests, while providing ongoing 1-2-1 support. 
 
If you’re looking for work experience in line with your aspirations, as well as specialist support and guidance, sign up to the Work Placements 4 ME programme by contacting Tebussum Rashid at tebussum@bteg.co.uk or call her on 020 7832 5839.

20% Increase in BME employment by 2020?

Oct 12, 2016

Last year David Cameron set an ambitious target to increase BME employment (including self employment) by 20% by the year 2020. However, subsequently not much has been said about what is being done to achieve these targets.

BTEG is involved in two separate programmes, both working to improve employment outcomes for those from BME backgrounds:

Moving on Up, funded by Trust for London and City Bridge Trust, involves six partners working to support young black men into employment.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) is funding four demonstration projects to test out solutions to support BME participants into quality jobs to help move them out of poverty.

Working across these programmes, and with a new Prime Minister in post, BTEG thought it was an ideal time to have a workshop bringing together the partners working to support people into work with Government departments and funders, to share the learning so far from the BME targeted programmes. 

At the workshop we heard from a number of speakers around diversifying the workforce.

Tony Thomas from Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) highlighted that there are 12 or 13 urban hubs in the UK where most of the UK BME population live. The government is keen to learn more about what works at local level to overcome barriers to employment for some BME groups. 

Kerry Fern from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) ran through a list of things which DWP are doing so support BME people into work – for example, Universal Credit, developing local JCP offer, talking to JCP employer engagement teams. DWP recognises that there are particular issues for some groups such as young black men. DWP is at a stage of ‘wanting to listen and learn’ about what works.

Kerry also mentioned:

  • BME employment hot spots;

  • DWP produced a toolkit on BME unemployment for  JCP work coaches to use hotspots – they are still developing this – should be ready in autumn;

  • Some JCPs working well with local BME communities – DWP talking to those to learn from best practice;

  • The 2020 target is national. DWP is not setting targets for local JCP districts – but is encouraging them to learn about their communities.

Trust for London spoke about some of the messages being tested on employers, specifically around employing young black men particularly to ensure that diversity targets for employers included ethnicity. Many employers tended to equate diversity with gender and disability and did not necessarily include or focus on ethnicity.

Project partners The Mayor’s Fund for London, Women Like Us and Hackney CVS spoke about their projects and how they engage both with employers and project participants. The Mayor’s Fund have set up an Employers Board and have engaged at a strategic level to address issues such as the potential skills shortage unless employers increase diversity and also by also raising awareness of the financial benefits that a more diverse workforce can bring.

Women Like Us reach their target group of Pakistani and Somali mums in Lambeth through the services they already access such as schools, sewing groups and via community champions and provide bespoke employment support but also work to increase confidence particularly in women who feel language is a barrier or have qualifications from other countries not recognised in the UK.

Hackney CVS has developed a holistic approach to improve employment outcomes for young black men in the borough. This includes support from school age, working with communities and agencies in the borough to provide this support.

In group discussions around what projects could do to contribute to the Government’s 2020 target, it was felt that a stronger message was needed from the Government on its BME target and that they should use their leverage to open doors with senior people in large companies to engage with achieving the target.

Some felt that having specific BME targets for employment within JCP at a localised level would help drive more rapid change.

Initiatives involving employers ranged from having jobs fairs with live jobs offered to use of positive action by employers.

The general feeling in the room was that much could be achieved by the collaboration of Government departments, funders and projects working on the front line to achieve the 2020 target. 

BTEG will share further learning coming out of both Moving on Up and JRF’s Poverty and Ethnicity demonstration projects over the coming months.

For further information on BME employment and the Government’s 2020 ambition contact Jeremy Crook, CEO, Black Training and Enterprise Group (BTEG) at Jeremy@bteg.co.uk

Race, the CJS and the Lammy Review

Oct 03, 2016

                                                            

David Lammy’s independent government sponsored review of the treatment of, and outcomes for, black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people in the Criminal Justice System is unique in a number of ways; particularly an opposition MP being asked to lead an independent government inquiry of any type is quite unprecedented.

That the inquiry is focused on a subject area as contentious and emotive as race and CJS only adds to the challenge.

Lammy himself has been keen to stress this context, often stating that had he been asked to complete this review for his own party leader it may have had a different feel than the one he will produce for the Prime Minister. Clearly a strong sense of realpolitik is at the forefront of Lammy’s thinking and its been made very clearly that he won’t bring forward proposals that don’t have a strong evidence base and/or are likely to be politically unpalatable to the Prime Minister and Secretary of State of Justice. 

As somebody who has worked quite closely with Lammy’s review team I have often been put in the position of defending the review to the charge that Lammy will fail to hold the CJS to account. At BTEG we understand some of the scepticism that this review has received in BAME communities and other circles. Undoubtedly, over the past eight years, race has diminished as a priority across the criminal justice system. Our view is that we have to be realistic in our expectations but we are fully committed to engage and support the work of the review.

Lammy himself did a fine job in rejecting the notion that he would be producing a timid report with the speech he gave in July on gangs at a conference on ethnic disproportionality in London’s youth justice system, held at London Councils in partnership with BTEG. At the conference he gave a powerful, thoughtful, evidence based critique of valid concerns around the use of gang’s databases. He raised legitimate concerns around civil liberties, the highest levels of ethnic disproportionality that he has seen so far within the CJS, the use of such information as evidence in court and the concern that rather than diverting young people from the CJS, gangs policy could be pulling many into it by way of mere association, where they reside and their ethnic background.

From this example it’s clear that Lammy will not shy away from bringing forward the difficult questions where he finds the evidence base to support his assertions.

From the position of the Young Review and BTEG, with a new Secretary of State for Justice who has hit the pause button on Michael Gove’s prison reforms, it is essential that such a core part of CJS reform places addressing ethnic disproportionality at its heart from the get go and doesn’t park it with the stock answer of `we are waiting for the Lammy Review’s report.’

The context of change politically has been huge over the past few months. As the dust settles after the referendum and with a new incumbent at 10 Downing Street for me there’s a sense that post-Brexit Britain is in search of a new national identity.

The Prime Minister has put addressing inequality at the centre of her vision. The timing of the Lammy Review couldn’t be better. 

Photo credit: Policy Exchange via VisualHunt.com / CC BY

 

 

Pages

Subscribe to Blogs

Latest

  `We must not accept that crime and violence is a foregone conclusion for any young...
Monday, July 10, 2017 - 13:17
Guest blog by Shamsher Chohan, Director, Communities Inc Communities Inc was establi...
Tuesday, May 9, 2017 - 16:45
                                     Last week BBC London News reported that London’s...
Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 12:18
I recently graduated from university, where I have gained valuable knowledge but, un...
Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 11:01

Follow us on social media