Ethnic minority children are more likely to fall out of the law in Birmingham than their white peers. A further 396 black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) children were cautioned during the same period – or one in every 164 BAME children living in the city.

Ministry of Justice shows new data that there were 283 white children aged between 10 and 17 in the city who were given a caution or sentence in 2017/18.

That works out as one in every 187 white children living in Birmingham, according to the latest population figures. Sentences can include time in youth custody, community service orders, or fines.

Experts are calling on the government to “implement a comprehensive race strategy”.

The rates become even more tilted when looking at boys and girls specifically.

One in every 33 boys of an ethnic minority in Birmingham was cautioned or sentenced in 2017/18.

That rate is nearly four times worse than the one in every 118 white boys also cautioned and sentenced in the same period.

The figures for girls tell a different story, with one in every 833 of an ethnic minority cautioned or sentenced.

That is compared with one in every 498 white girls also cautioned or sentenced.

Rebecca Hilsenrath, chief executive at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “The number of children and young people detained in custody has steadily declined, but the proportion of ethnic minority children in our criminal justice system has increased.

“We need the justice system to respond and take steps to rebuild trust.

“This is a complex issue and it cannot be looked at in isolation.

“To effectively tackle it we must look at the wider context including educational opportunities, role models and employment prospects. We know that the disjointed approach doesn’t work.

“This is why we have called on the government to implement a comprehensive race strategy to address the major divisions in our society.”

The situation in Birmingham represents a national trend.

Overall in England and Wales, there were 25,654 children given cautions or sentences – of whom 18,826 were white and 6,828 were BAME.

A government spokesperson said: “We are determined to reduce disproportionality in the justice system, which is why we accepted every recommendation in the Lammy review and have set up a dedicated team to address the issue head on.

“Disproportionate outcomes begin before children enter the justice system, so work is underway across government to understand and address the root causes.

We are also intervening by improving understanding of the legal advice and options for BAME children, reviewing disproportionate sentences, and supporting police pilots which aim to rehabilitate offenders.”


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