Total policing?: a critical examination of the concept of ‘institutional racism’ in explaining the racial disparities in stop and search use in England & Wales

Marcou, Alexandria (2014) Total policing?: a critical examination of the concept of ‘institutional racism’ in explaining the racial disparities in stop and search use in England & Wales. BSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    This dissertation critically examines the concept of ‘Institutional racism’, central to the Macpherson report (1999), in explaining the racial disproportionality in the police use of stop and search in England and Wales. Fifteen years after the Inquiry into Stephen Lawrence’s murder, research has continued to draw our attention to the unsettling disparities in the use of stop and search on particular ethnic minority groups and the consequence it is having on police-community relations remains at the forefront of debate. Using a combination of relevant secondary data sources, this research explores whether the racial disparities in police stop and search is attributable to officers selectively targeting ethnic minority communities or whether there are alternative explanations for the dispropotionalities in the stop and search statistics. The findings reveal that discriminatory outcomes in stop and search are the product of not only the actions of individual officers, but also the indirect and unwitting consequences of wider police decisions and policies within the institution. Disproportionately was found to arise indirectly from the concentration on particular locations where ethnic communities reside and from officers operating on the basis of unconscious generalisations and stereotypes. The study indicates that the discretion afforded to police officers and the low visibility of this practice, has a significant impact upon decisions to stop and search. However, more research into the experiences of ethnic minorities is needed in order to further understand the concept of ‘institutional racism’ and how it contributes to the differential treatment they receive at all stages of the criminal justice system.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Beth Atkins
    Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2014 08:42
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 12:44
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/15908

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