Black children more likely to be denied bail than white offenders

Campaigners called the Met Police data shocking  (PA Wire)
Campaigners called the Met Police data shocking (PA Wire)

Black and ethnic minority children accused of crimes are more likely to be refused bail by police in London than white youngsters, new figures reveal.

Campaigners called the Met Police data shocking, saying the decision increases the likelihood of magistrates remanding teenage defendants in custody for months until trial.

Of 953 10 to 18-year-olds detained post-charge in the year to October last year, 473 suspects were black (49.6 per cent) and 181 white (18.9 per cent). In total, people from ethnic minorities made up 73.3 per cent of those held in custody for a first appearance before the courts. Black people account for 13.5 per cent of Londoners, Asians 20.7 per cent and whites 53.8 per cent.

Scotland Yard said the ethnicity of a person “plays no part in this decision” and the figures show a slight decrease in the percentage of ethnic minorities detainees when compared to 2020 and 2021.

But Penelope Gibbs, director of campaign group Transform Justice, said: “The figures are shocking. The depressing thing is the Met haven’t changed their practice of detaining children who are either black or from other ethnic communities.

“There’s a problem here that starts with stop-and-search, who the police choose to arrest and then detain post-charge. They have the option of letting a child out on bail, so the Met needs to explain this disproportionality or reform.

“Police refusing to bail children increases the likelihood of the court imprisoning them on remand.” Baroness Casey’s review of the Met, ordered in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder, found the force is institutionally racist, misogynist and homophobic.

Commander Nick John, in charge of criminal justice at the Met, said: “The detention of a person under 18 after they have been charged with a criminal offence and awaiting a court appearance is one that is closely scrutinised.

“Factors that will be considered are the severity of the offence, the welfare and personal circumstances of that individual, and the safety of those linked to the investigation or the individual. The ethnicity of a person plays no part in this decision.”