THE 2000 SCOTTISH CRIME SURVEY: ANALYSIS OF THE ETHNIC MINORITY BOOSTER SAMPLE
6 VICTIMS' CONTACTS WITH THE POLICE
6.1 This chapter reports findings from questions asked about respondents' interactions with the police, specifically whether or not victims of crime reported the matter to the police or other agencies and, in cases where the police did become involved, victims' assessment of the police response. As with much of the analysis in Chapters 3 and 4, the data were derived from Victim Forms, and so the unit of analysis is primarily the number of incidents, rather than households or people.
Police awareness of the incident
6.2 Overall, white victims were more inclined to report offences to the police (50% of cases) than ethnic minorities (42%), but whether or not the police came to hear about incidents depended largely on the type of offence. Incidents involving housebreaking were more likely to be reported to the police by ethnic minority victims (91%) than by white victims (69%). However, incidents of vandalism were more likely to be reported to the police by white victims than by ethnic minorities (47% and 29% respectively). There were too few personal incidents against ethnic minority victims (n=26) to be broken down by offence type, but approximately half of such incidents were reported to the police by victims in both samples.
6.3 Victims were asked why they had reported incidents to the police.
Table 6.1 - victims' reasons for contacting the police
All crimes should be reported
So that offenders would be caught
Serious, major or upsetting crime
In hope of avoiding a repetition of incident
In hope of recovering property
For purposes of insurance claim
Source: 2000 SCS ethnic minority booster sample (all Scotland, weighted data), Victim Forms, incidents where the police wee contacted; 2000 SCS white respondents in core sample (all Scotland, weighted data), Victim Forms, incidents where the police were contacted. More than one response was permitted. n=81 for household incidents against ethnic minorities, n=536 for household incidents against whites, n=13 for personal incidents against ethnic minorities, and n=114 for personal incidents against whites.
6.4 Household and personal incidents involving ethnic minority victims were more likely than those involving white victims to be reported because the victim believed that all crimes should be reported to the police and because they felt the incident had been serious, major or upsetting. It was noted in Chapter 3 that ethnic minority victims rated their household victimisations more seriously than did the white sample. Both samples also felt that household offences and, for the ethnic minority sample, personal offences, were reported to the police in the hope that the perpetrators would be caught. For personal offences, both samples also felt reporting the incident might avoid its repetition.
6.5 Victims who did not inform the police about their experiences were asked to explain why.
Table 6.2 - victims' reasons for not contacting the police
Police could have done nothing
Police would not have been interested
Inconvenient or too much trouble
Victim dealt with matter
Fear of reprisals
Private, personal or family matter
Source: 2000 SCS ethnic minority booster sample (all Scotland, weighted data), Victim Forms, incidents where the police were not contacted; 2000 SCS white respondents in core sample (all Scotland, weighted data), Victim Forms, incidents where the police were not contacted. More than one response was permitted. n=70 for household incidents against ethnic minorities, n=493 for household incidents against whites, n=12 for personal incidents against ethnic minorities, and n=122 for personal incidents against whites.
6.6 Household incidents were less likely to be reported to the police by ethnic minority victims than by whites if it was felt that the police could not have done anything or that it was inconvenient or troublesome to involve the police. Few incidents, particularly personal offences involving ethnic minority victims, were regarded as private, personal or family matters. As shown in Chapter 3, personal offences were more likely to be perpetrated against whites by friends or acquaintances, which perhaps explains this difference. A large proportion (67%) of personal incidents experienced by ethnic minority victims were regarded by them as being too trivial to report.
Table 6.3 - victims' assessment of the police response to household incidents
% 'as much as you thought they should'
How much interest did the police show?
How much effort did the police use?
% 'very' or 'fairly' polite
How polite were the police?
% 'very' or 'fairly' satisfied
Were you satisfied or dissatisfied?
% 'more favourable' - 'less favourable'
Did this make you more or less favourable towards police?
Source: 2000 SCS ethnic minority booster sample (all Scotland, weighted data), Victim Forms; 2000 SCS white respondents in core sample (all Scotland, weighted data), Victim Forms. In the bottom section of Table 6.3, the proportion of those incidents where victims reported they were 'less favourable' towards the police was subtracted from the proportion of incidents where victims reported they were 'more favourable' towards the police, giving a measure of net satisfaction.
6.7 Various measures of satisfaction with the services provided by the police to victims were recorded. In relation to household incidents, ethnic minorities were consistently more satisfied with the police, though the raw number of incidents was comparatively low (between 21 and 66). In addition, with certain types of household crime such as vandalism, where victims are not always able to give a description of the offender, their expectations of what the police can do may not be high. A similar analysis of personal incidents showed that white victims were proportionately slightly more satisfied with the police response than white victims of household incidents, but that ethnic minority victims of personal incidents were less satisfied across all five measures. However, the raw numbers were extremely low - between 10 and 12 - and this comparison should be treated with caution.
The involvement of agencies other than the police
6.8 Very few incidents led to the involvement of other agencies within or ancillary to the criminal justice system. Amongst those reported by ethnic minorities, 96% of household incidents and 85% of personal incidents did not involve other agencies, compared with 92% and 74% respectively amongst those reported by whites. The raw number of incidents reported by ethnic minorities where agencies were involved was only 4 for both household and personal incidents.
6.9 Police awareness of incidents depended largely on the type of offence, with housebreakings more likely to be reported by ethnic minority victims. White victims were more likely to tell the police about vandalism.
6.10 A majority of both samples believed that all crimes should be reported. On the other hand, where incidents were not reported to the police this was often because of the belief that the police could have done nothing or that the incident was too trivial. Ethnic minority victims were more likely than whites to have reported a personal incident because they wanted the perpetrator caught and because the incident had been serious, major or upsetting.
6.11 In relation to household incidents, ethnic minority victims consistently expressed higher levels of satisfaction towards the police than white victims in terms of how much interest the police showed, how much effort they used and how polite they were.