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Gavin Hales @gmhales
, 18 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Being back in S/SE London last week, esp the v diverse (and rel high crime) area I lived in 2010-17, reminded me of an observation I think is relevant to debates about disproportionality re #stopsearch: you just don't see many white teenagers out and about there.

By contrast, loads of white younger (eg pre/primary age) children, including in local schools which are all (though varyingly) v racially mixed.

So where are the white teens? I've some thoughts/hypotheses, and hope to explore whether empirical evidence bears them out.

First, to say that although the area is racially and economically quite mixed - lots of local authority owned terraced housing mixed in with owner occupiers/private renters; large post-war estates, some rebuilt - my impression is that it's also quite socially segregated.

Pupils at local state-funded 2ndary schools in my area - & those using eg buses to travel to other (eg church) schools further away - seem to be predom black. Pupils using buses are almost all black.

(Overall, independent schools account for a bit over 10% of borough pupils)

At the local-authority level (much wider than the area I'm talking about here), pupils in state-funded secondaries are more than 75% BAME, more than 50% black/black mixed race. Data at…

That compares with 2018 demographic estimates for the 11-18 yr olds in the borough: around 2/3rds BAME, just over 45% black. As v often in London they're not spread evenly. Eg the borough has poorer (higher % black) and richer (higher % white) areas in rel. close proximity.

Among my local white/middle class neighbours/peers w kids, 2ndary education - way more than primary - is a preoccupation, and many seem to move (incl within the borough) for schools elsewhere. Some stay put but go private (of which, many seem to drive kids to school).

My impression is that white teens more often socialise at home (theirs/friends'). Occasionally you'll see the odd group in local parks, but otherwise they remain largely invisible. More private space than their black peers, and/or are they just not living in the area?

For 20-somethings the picture is v different, reflecting a local student population and pockets of local gentrification (independent coffee shops etc). Reflects social segregation, incl in small local areas.

To the visible (to me at least) local criminal economy: drug dealing (incl deals completed in local parks) seem to be mostly black males in teens/20s. Rel high levels of serious violence reported incl murders with predominantly black victims.

A neighbour told me abt a friend, whose white son attends a predom black local 2ndary, and who lives on the edge of a local estate. His black male friends are assumed by their black peers to be gang/territorially involved. Being white, he evidently is not. Is that typical?

Of course there's lots of less visible offending, incl locally-based such as DV, burglary and car crime - have seen all on my street over the years.

But the thing I keep coming back to is the fact you just don't see white teenagers in local public spaces.

So to #stopsearch disproportionality: in the borough in question (again, a wider geography than I'm discussing) black people are stopped and searched at roughly 3x the rate of white, though this varies from month-to-month (range c 2-5x).

Given my observations above, the 'available population' seems highly relevant, as does the Q of who is involved in local priority crimes, esp violence, where SS likely to be used as a tactic by police; also that as a rel high crime area it will also be policed more.

I'm going to come back to this (hopefully) more holistic and locally-grounded take on proportionality, because I think there are wider implications. I'm v conscious my perspective is just that and wld be v interested for other views.

In general I can't help thinking a much greater level of detail and specificity is required when #stopsearch disproportionality is discussed. That must be easier at a much more local level of geography.

[Ends for now]

Here a summary of state funded 2ndry schools data for all London boroughs.

Overall, pupils are 61% BAME (25% black/black & white mixed), Inner London 71% (33%).

Boroughs w highest percentage black/black and white mixed
Lambeth 51%
Lewisham 49%
Southwark 49%
Hackney 40%

For state-funded schools, pupil ethnicity data is available per school. The 5 state secondaries nearest me in London (3,100 pupils) are 61% black/black mixed race, 16% white.

Last file in this zip file - filename ends 'Pupils_UD'…

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