Racist violence in a northern English city: experiences of victimisation and the police response

Kirby, Steven (2021) Racist violence in a northern English city: experiences of victimisation and the police response. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

Text (Doctoral thesis)
kirby.steve_phd(91506001).pdf - Submitted Version

Download (1MB) | Preview


This is a qualitative study into the experiences of racist violence and the policing response in Newcastle upon Tyne. It has been conducted by an operational Police Sergeant in Northumbria Police.
The key objectives were to explore the nature, extent, and impact of racist violence; understand the needs and expectations of victims; examine and evaluate policing interventions; and make recommendations towards meeting victim’s needs.
56 interviews and focus groups were conducted with victims of racist crime; partner agencies; and police officers, in 2008 and 2020.
The research found that racist violence was a part of daily life for some black, Asian and minority ethnic communities in Newcastle upon Tyne. Participants suffered harmful emotional responses to attacks. Victims reported that policing responses failed to meet their needs, leaving them feeling ignored, unprotected and sometimes, more victimised. Police officer participants in 2008 identified institutional pressures, a low relevance of racist incidents, lack of empathy and understanding, and fear of making mistakes led to poor policing interventions. The impact of austerity from 2009, resulted in loss of resources, but participants felt policing responses to racist violence were better by 2020, with more focus on vulnerability and harm reduction. Interestingly, victims did not articulate any reflection of those improvements in the second period.
The study argues that police officers could develop empathy with victims which would lead to a more appropriate, professional, and needs-led response. That would improve trust, confidence, and legitimacy. It concurs with contemporary literature that describes the harmful impact of racist violence on victims. Also, that despite decades of policy intended to improve policing responses and evidenced attitudinal shift in police officers of all ranks, significant gaps remain.
Four proposals for policy are made, that translate the findings of this research into evidence-based actionable response options for contemporary policing.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: hate crime, policing, racial harassment
Subjects: L900 Others in Social studies
M900 Other in Law
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2022 09:03
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2022 09:15
URI: https://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/50817

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics