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Ethnic minority youths see police in Scotland as racist - survey

14-08-2007

London, (IRNA):

Most young ethnic minority people in Scotland see the police as racist, according to the first independent study of their attitudes to law and order.

Academics from Glasgow Caledonian University said the survey found that youths from minority backgrounds felt "under siege" from staring white neighbours and unfairly targeted by police officers who lacked "cultural sensitivity."

The researchers spent months cataloguing the views of people aged between 16 and 25 from a variety of ethnic minorities, including Scotland's largest, Pakistanis.

"There are strong perceptions among most participants that some actions of the police amounted to racism and reflected cultural insensitivity," their report said. Many were said to lack confidence in the judgment of the police.

Scotland's two biggest police forces, Strathclyde and Lothian and Borders, which commissioned the study, acknowledged that there was a need to widen their engagement with young people.

"Although there has been a great deal of positive feedback, it was felt that the good relationship that we have with the black and minority ethnic community has generally been with the older generation," said assistant chief constable of Strathclyde Police, John Neilson.

Despite the findings, many young people, especially Muslims, were said to have made it clear that they saw themselves as Scottish. They described racism as part of their everyday lives, but stressed that they did not see all Scots as racist.

Unlike England, ethnic minorities make up only 2 per cent of Scotland's 5 million population. According to the last census in 2001, nearly 32,000 described themselves as Pakistani, over 16,000 as Chinese and around 15,000 as Indian.



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