Cross Justice Working Group on Race Data and Evidence minutes: October 2020

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 14 October 2020.

Attendees and apologies


  • SG – Justice Analytical Services (JAS)
  • SG – Police Division
  • SCTS (Scottish Courts and Tribunal Services)
  • Community Justice Scotland
  • CRER (Coalition for Racial and Equality Rights)
  • Glasgow University; SCCJR (Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research)
  • SFRS (Scottish Fire and Rescue Service)
  • Scottish Institute for Policing Research

Items and actions

Introductions and apologies

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

Purpose of the group and terms of reference

JAS introduced the first paper, which provides background to the group and a draft terms of reference. It also highlights that there are significant gaps in terms of the availability of published information on race and ethnicity within the Scottish justice system and that more needs to be done around improving data and evidence. 

There was a discussion around the background paper and the terms of reference. It was agreed that it is important that we are clear about what the issues are, what the evidence is, and more importantly, that we are collecting the right data and putting it into practice. 

It has been noted that issues of race and justice are a significant problem around the world and action is needed immediately. Whilst there is some information and research currently available there is an overall lack of evidence.

It was also noted that information on ethnicity is in fact available in a number of different datasets throughout the justice system, and  that auditing the extent to which ethnicity variables are currently included within existing datasets would be a good starting point.


  • map out currently available research
  • bring the review of the available quantitative and qualitative data and evidence to the next group meeting, to support the priority setting workshop

The group also noted that Ministers are keen to see an improvement in the level of disaggregation within hate crime statistics.


  • gather views from other group members around whether improving hate crime evidence should be one of the core aims or a specific work strand

There was discussion around whether the scope of the group should cover third sector organisations. 


  • consider further how best to involve third sector groups and community groups in this work for the next meeting
  • update and recirculate the terms of reference

Ethnicity and criminal history system 

Ethnicity data within the National Statistics for Criminal Proceedings in Scotland has been discussed and work is underway to link self-reported ethnicity data on COPFS and court disposals with data from the criminal history system.

Hate crime deep dive update

The Hate Crime research project aims to update and improve intelligence on hate crime in Scotland, by providing new analysis on which groups experience police-recorded hate crime. 

JAS have been gathering information from crime records and will publish a report of the results.

Thereafter work will continue to identify a more sustainable solution to producing disaggregated hate-crime statistics on a permanent basis.


  • keep the group informed on progress with the research project, giving members the chance to provide feedback
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