Policing minority ethnic communities

Authored by: Ben Bowling , Alpa Parmar , Coretta Phillips

Handbook of Policing

Print publication date:  August  2008
Online publication date:  August  2012

Print ISBN: 9781843925002
eBook ISBN: 9780203118238
Adobe ISBN: 9781136308529


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The delivery of policing – whether in the form of ‘force’ or ‘service’ – should not be greatly inferior for some social groups than others. And yet, the research evidence shows that, in general, people who are seen as ‘white’ tend to have a more satisfactory experience of the police than people whose ancestry lies in Asia, Africa and the ‘islands of the sea’. 1 The so-called ‘colour-line’ that the pioneering sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois (1901/1989: 13) predicted would be the ‘problem of the twentieth century’ can be discerned clearly 100 years later in the relationship between police and ethnic minority communities in numerous countries around the world. 2 Furthermore, recent shifts in migration patterns have demanded a reconceptualisation of the perception of those who might belong to ‘ethnic minority groups’ and indeed, it is the question of ‘difference’ that has become salient in contemporary societies (Hall 1991, 2000). Such conceptual shifts have implications for the relationship between the police and citizens from minority ethnic communities. In this chapter, we examine policing practices, making comparisons between the policing of ‘white’, ‘black’ and ‘Asian’ communities in Britain. 3 We also review some of the research that has assessed Post-Lawrence reforms and consider the implications of recent events on contemporary policing.

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