Knife Crime is very much current and on the rise, both in the capital, London, and across the country generally. For the purposes of this post I shall be relying on figures that relate to London, but I have no doubt that they will be mirrored elsewhere, just with smaller numbers. In this context Knife Crime = Any Crime enabled by use of a Knife, not just assaults and homicides etc.
Ethnicity in this context is Self Defined Ethnicity.
In 2012 there were 12,454 recorded victims of Knife Crime in London, 2,489 (20%) were female and 9,960 (80%) were male. 1,566 (12.6%) were Asian, 1,208 (9.7%) were Black (any origin), 185 (1.5%) were Mixed Race, 86 (0.01%) were Chinese, 3,123 (25.1%) were White, 181 (1.5%) were from Any Other Ethnic Group, and 6,105 (49%) were Unrecorded (including Refused) for whatever reason.
Fast Forward to 2016 and we see a slight reduction in the total number off victims of Knife Crime
In 2016 there were a total of 11,707 recorded victims of Knife Crime in London, 2,360 (20.2%) were female and 9342 (79.8%) were male. So not really very much has changed here. 986 (8.4%) were Asian, 968 (8.3%) were Black (any origin), 125 (1.1%) were Mixed Race, 36 (0.3%) were Chinese, 2,110 (18%) were White, 121 (1%) were from Any Other Ethnic Group and 7,361 (63%) were Unrecorded/Refused for whatever reason. A HUGE rise in Unrecorded/Refused. Is this indicative of a lack of supervision, insufficient time to fill in all the boxes, or just sloppy crime recording generally? Small reductions in the number of Asian, Black and White victimes but this is absolutely meaningless due to the ridiculously high Unrecorded/Refused figure. Not very much you can do with any of these figures except insert the words ‘At Least’ in front of them.
This brings us to the persons carrying out these offences, which in this instance are the people ‘Arrested’, or Persons Proceeded Against as the Met quaintly calls them.
In 2012 a Grand Total of 3,067 people were ‘Proceeded Against’, 302 (9.9%) of them were Female and 2,765 (90.1%) were Male. 319 (0.1%) were Asian, 1,288 (42%) were Black (any origin), 200 (6.5%) were Mixed Race, 10 (0.3%) were Chinese, 1,070 (34.9%) were White, 86 (2.8%) were from Any Other Ethnic Group and 94 (3.1%) were Unrecorded/Refused.
Fast Forward to 2016 once more, what, if anything has changed here?
In 2016 a Grand Total of 2,546 people were Proceeded Against for Knife Crime. 341 (13.4%) were Female and 2,205 (86.6%) were Male. 288 (11.3%) were Asian, 1,040 (40.1%) were Black (any origin), 174 (6.8%) were of Mixed Race, 7 (0.3%) were Chinese, 850 (33.4%) were White, 97 (3.8%) were from Any Other Ethnic Group, and 90 were Unrecorded/Refused
So, what does Stop and Search look like?
In Calendar Year 2012, in London, there were 390,231 recorded Stop and Searches. Of the Persons stopped 60,696 (15.5%) were Asian, 106,303 (27.2%) were Black (any origin), 16,547 (4.2%) were Mixed Race, 1,051 (0.3%) were Chinese, 175,036 (44.9%) were White, 8,266 (2.1%) were from Any Other Ethnic Group and the remainder being Not Recorded or Refused.
In 2016 the situation was this; there were a total of 135,968 of which 15,940 were Asian, 43,599 were Black (any origin), 5,889 were of Mixed Race, 49,322 were White, 272 were Chinese, 3,182 were Any Other Ethnic Group. An incredible 17,764 were Unrecorded/Refused.
So, what does all of this show? It shows that you can demonstrate almost anything depending upon how you present the statistics. Almost every set of data above is rendered unreliable by the incredible number of Unrecorded or Refused entries. However, merely looking at the entries where ethnicity was self-defined, it would appear that white people were the major victims of Knife Crime. Black people formed the majority of the Persons Proceeded against. In both years White people formed the majority of persons Stopped and Searched. Right? Got that? If only life were that simple.
The Academics (thankfully I’m a mere faux-Academic) would have you believe that Black people form the majority of people stopped because they are being stopped disproportionately. This is how it works.
For the Rolling Year in London, this is how Stop/Searches look
Black people have crept slightly ahead of White people in the Rolling Year (to today’s date), but nothing to be alarmed about. Not until the Academics get hold of it and tell us that on the basis of these figures Black people are SEVEN times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people. How does that work then? It works by measuring the totals against the percentages of the ethnic population of London. using exactly the same figures the graph now looks like this
It makes it appear that MANY more Black people are being stopped than White people, but that is merely one interpretation of the same data. Certainly not the much-vaunted SEVEN times that we keep getting fed. Personally I prefer to deal in simple numbers as the true picture is immediately obvious, the Academics love to deal in percentages because they can ‘prove’ that something has improved that has, in reality, got much worse, such as the Stop to Arrest ‘hit’ rate. That is much worse, but the percentages would tend to suggest that it is much better. A higher percentage of a smaller number frequently produces a much smaller result.
To demonstate the folly of this within the context of Stop and Search, one of our Northern Constabularies was criticised for stopping too many Black people. The numbers being stopped were disproportionate to the ethnic makeup of the County. Well I have to say this was true, Black people made up approx 0.3% of the County, but approx 0.7% of the people stopped were Black. Twice as many as you should expect perhaps.
Strip away all the smoke and mirrors and reveal the reality
In 2015/16 Out of 3,879 s1 Stop Searches 3,381 were White, 22 black, 43 Asian, 6 Chinese, 12 Mixed Race, 110 unknown and 305 were Vehicle Only.
In 2016/17 Out of 1,962 s1 Stop Searches 1,705 were white, 14 were Black, 21 were Asian, No Chinese lol, 9 were Mixed Race, 86 Unknown and 127 were Vehicle Only
One Black person stopped by the entire Force every 2-3 weeks. If that is excessive I’ll go back to knitting.