HL Deb 10 April 2000 vol 612 cc7-8WA
Baroness Whitaker

asked Her Majesty's Government:

To what they attribute the rise of 367 per cent between 1997–98 and 1998–99 in racist incidents collected by the police and for the City of London, reported in the Home Office's Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System for 1999. [HL1852]

Lord Bassam of Brighton

Racist incidents have been significantly under-reported by the public and under-recorded by the police in the past. Figures from the 1996 British Crime Survey indicate that in 1995 of 382,000 racist incidents reported by the respondents to the survey, only 172,000 were reported to the police, compared with 12,222 recorded by the police.

The police service as a whole has been working to increase reporting and recording of racist incidents. In 1998–99, 23,049 racist incidents were recorded by the police, an increase of 66 per cent on the previous year. Actions taken include the adoption of a new, simplified definition of a racist incident as recommended by the Stephen Lawrence inquiry report; and guidelines recently issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers on the recording of racist incidents.

While the City of London's increase of 367 per cent seems large in relation to the national increase of 66 per cent, the actual figures involved are small. The numerical increase is from six recorded incidents in 1997–98 to 28 recorded incidents in 1998–99.