CALL FOR PAPERS: ‘20 years since Macpherson’: A British Journal of Community Justice special issue on racism and hate crime

Published 28/03/2019
Type Editorial Comment
Corresponding Authors


The Macpherson report, also known as the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, was published in February 1999. The ‘unprovoked’ racist murder of Stephen Lawrence, and the subsequent failures of the police investigation, led to ‘70 recommendations aimed at “the elimination of racist prejudice and disadvantage and the demonstration of fairness in all aspects of policing.”’. These recommendations included those aiming at openness and accountability, a sharpening of focus through the definition of a ‘racist incident’, proposals for the reporting, investigation and prosecution of racist crimes, support for victims and witnesses, and training for police staff in response to ‘institutional racism’. After 20 years, the landscape has developed – with new legislation, practices, organisations – and so the time is ripe for an assessment of hate crime, institutional racism, and the British response in 2019.

This special issue of the British Journal of Community Justice will examine current and potential future developments in hate crime and institutional racism. The journal is policy and practitioner as well as scholar focused, so writing will be aimed at this wider audience, as well as including writing by policy-makers and practitioners. The special issue will not reheat past debates, through thinking about whether all crime is hate crime, whether additional punishment for hate crimes are justified, or whether state bodies are or can be institutionally racist. We believe there is perhaps more fertile ground in thinking about the processes of crime and justice, from victim, victim services, criminal justice system and perpetrator. This, of course, may bring in other forms of conflict or problems by the backdoor, as victim/CJS/perpetrator relationships may shift from hate-related to not.

We therefore call for abstracts or outlines of papers from prospective contributors that address the broad theme of developments since Macpherson, in the UK or with comparison to elsewhere. Suggestions of potential themes are given below, but these are not restrictive.

Please send abstracts or outlines of up to 200 words to Gavin Bailey and Kris Christmann ( and by April 26 2019. Alternatively, do get in touch if there is an idea you would like to discuss.

Potential themes:

– How have police forces changed, both in terms of those recruited, and in their training and practice, since Macpherson (i.e. are changes more presentational/expressive than real – performance, framing, etc. )?
– How have other parts of the CJS changed in this period?
– How have the barriers to better community-police relations changed since the 1990s, including regarding different sections of society, and the impact of counter-terrorism?
– How do the spectrum of hate offences compare across different victim categories? Is there a differential response? This could be addressed at a statistical level, or by considering street-level bureaucracy.
– What has the strategic prioritisation of hate crime by police forces accomplished? Is hate crime policy being interpreted into practice; has there been policy drift; is multi-agency engagement still appropriate?
– What are the alternatives to criminal justice responses? Should we involve private actors in service delivery, or what can we learn from the private sector more general which is applicable to tackling a problem like hate crime? How are restorative justice approaches used?
– Perpetrators and the pathways into hate offending
– Prison conflict, including racialized gangs and hate crime inside prison
– Public understanding of criminal justice in the area of hate crime, including expectations of what should be reported, what will be done in response and so on.