Thursday, October 27, 2011
Black and Asian rioters were disproportionately involved in the summer 2011 disturbances in England
More than half of those charged with offenses were from a black or ethnic minority background, compared with 42% who were white, Ministry of Justice figures have shown. In some areas of England, the proportion of black rioters was more than five times the local population. In terms of ethnicity, 46% of those appearing in court were from black or mixed black backgrounds, 42% were white and 7% were Asian. In Haringey, north London, Nottingham, and Birmingham – three key scenes of the disturbances – the proportion of those brought before the courts over the riots who were white was significantly lower, and those from a black and mixed black background significantly higher, than the proportion in the resident population. In addition, 1 in 7 of the rioters jailed was a foreign national. Foreign looters from 44 countries have been locked up over the riots which scarred England in August 2011. Robbers, vandals and thugs from as far afield as Afghanistan, Cuba, Ethiopia and Samoa joined in as shops were plundered and businesses set ablaze, causing millions of pounds worth of damage. The sheer number from different corners of the globe who took part in the mayhem is one of the strongest indicators yet that the riots had nothing to do with political protest or civil unrest, but was born of greed and opportunist criminality. Prison statistics revealed that 14% – about one in seven – of those jailed for burglary, robbery, theft, criminal damage and disorder during the riots were born abroad. But the true number could be even higher as at least 4% of those remanded in custody refused to tell police their nationality. Jamaicans represented the largest group of foreign inmates, followed by Somali and Polish offenders. The list also included those from Colombia, Iraq, Congo, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. One in four of those jailed for robbery were born abroad, as were one in ten convicted for violent disorder or other disorder offenses such as possession of a knife or drugs.