The police, gangs and racism

Police vs People source: Centre for Crime and Justice Studies
published: 29 April 2014

Patrick Williams of Manchester Metropolitan University discusses recent research demonstrating that the police in Manchester are disproportionately, and wrongly, identifying young black, asian and minority ethnic people as being gang members.

Why are 89% of people on the Manchester Police gang database from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background?

There are an increasing number of research and evaluation reports, which document the prevalence of gangs within England and Wales.

Whilst much of this reinforces a widely held view of the serious ‘risks’ and harms posed by such young people, other studies have questioned the value of the gang label for ‘making sense’ of the problems experienced by young people.

In 2013, colleagues and I published a report for Manchester City Council profiling the social, personal and criminogenic ‘needs’ of young people who were:

(a) identified as a ‘gang-concern’ or
(b) had perpetrated serious violent offences (SYV).

The project was essentially a quantitative study drawing data from criminal justice case management and monitoring systems.

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