Cross Justice Working Group on Race Data and Evidence minutes: January 2021

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 27 January 2021.

Attendees and apologies


  • SG – Justice Analytical Services (JAS)
  • SG – Police Division
  • SG – Communities Analytical Division (CAD)
  • SLAB (Scottish Legal Aid Board)
  • CRER (Coalition for Racial and Equality Rights)
  • Glasgow University; SCCJR (Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research)
  • Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS)
  • Police Scotland (PS)
  • Dundee University SIPR ( Scottish Institute for Policing Research)
  • BEMIS 
  • SFRS (Scottish Fire and Rescue Service)
  • Community Justice
  • CEMVO Scotland (The Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Sector Organisations)

Items and actions

Introductions and apologies

JAS welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked them for attending. 

Agreement of terms of reference

The TOR has been updated to reflect the feedback already received from the group.

Proposal for development of future work plan for the group

Discussion paper – it was suggested to look at developing a work plan with a real sense of involvement with communities and stakeholders to continue working to improve the data and research, looking at priorities around race and responsibilities and to develop an understanding of any barriers.

Data development plan and Research plan – data audit

Update on meetings with organisations and individual discussions to develop a deeper understanding of data issues 

There is a plan to pull together wider findings from the discussions.

Engagement around race and the justice system

JAS presentation about plans to engage with stakeholders, minority ethnic community groups and academics about their research and data priorities around race and justice.

Planned survey –to be circulated. Some concerns were raised about how community groups and organisations are identified and that certain demographics may be missed.

JAS advised that community groups will need to be engaged on the basis of racial provisions as codified in international and domestic and human rights, equality and hate crime law. These provisions cover colour, nationality, ethnicity or national origin. He would be confident that between CEMVO, BEMIS, CRER, GRAMNet and others that they’d be capable of canvassing these communities to inform data development that reflects their needs and rights.

There was a suggestion around forming a sub-group to capture planning/engagement with the academic community.

Timescales were discussed.

Hate crime update – JAS

JAS gave a brief update on the hate crime research project, which aims to improve intelligence by providing new analysis on which groups experience police-recorded hate crime in Scotland (along with other findings such as settings and the prejudices being shown by perpetrators).

The team presented a summary of provisional findings to the Tackling Prejudice and Building Connected Communities Action group on the 14th January, and received broadly positive feedback, along with suggestions for analysis within the final report - which is due to be published on 23rd February 2021.

JAS spoke about the Hate Crime Bill going through Parliament, specifically stage 2 - where discussions and debates are ongoing regarding an amendment which aims to deliver disaggregated hate crime data in future.  He advised that more information can be found on the Parliament website, and noted that further change may occur over Stage 3 of the Bill. Prior to any changes that may result from the Bill (should parliament pass it), we have committed to repeat the deep dive project for 2020-21. JAS is also happy to do a presentation and answer any questions on the upcoming research report at the next meeting.


Group considered possible topics which could be discussed at the next meeting: one suggestion was looking at the census data and the possibility of delivering a presentation on COVID and the death rate by different ethnic groups. 

It was suggested that NRS COVID mortality risk rates may provide a clearer indication; discussion on the disaggregation of racially aggravated hate crime using 14 different census codes and how police officers should be trained on how to record these on their system. 

Hate crime deep dive – questions on the data collection in terms of COVID and ethnicity.

Date of next meeting

Next meeting to be arranged forlLate February/early March 2021.

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