Criminal Proceedings: Travellers

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 14th July 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Whitaker Baroness Whitaker Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in rectifying the absence of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers from official monitoring systems across the criminal justice system since the publication of the Lammy Review.

Photo of Lord Keen of Elie Lord Keen of Elie The Advocate-General for Scotland, Lords Spokesperson (Ministry of Justice)

The Ministry of Justice is committed to improving collection and publication of data to identify and tackle any disparities in the Criminal Justice System.

In England and Wales, there are 18 ethnic groups recommended for use by government when asking for someone’s ethnicity. It is recognised that these ethnic groups do not represent how all people identify. People are encouraged to write in their ethnicity using their own words if they do not identify with any groups in the list.

Criminal justice organisations of England and Wales have adopted a revised Self-Defined 18+1 data standard to deliver greater precision when recording the defendant’s ethnicity status. This 18+1 standard added the option of “Gypsy or Irish Traveller”, however it does not include “Roma” and relies on self-identification by a defendant, who may choose to withhold this information.

Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) integrated the capability to collect data using the 18+1 standard into its systems from June 2018.

The Youth Justice Board (YJB) have also now extended the ethnic categorisation within the Youth Offending Team Case Management System to the 18+1 standard, meaning that “Gypsy or Irish Traveller” is now recorded as a separate ethnic group in addition to the other 18 ethnic groups recorded. This will enable the YJB to explore and better understand the experience throughout the Youth Justice System for GRT individuals and identify areas for potential work.

W3 (White: Gypsy or Irish Traveller) ethnicity has been available in nDelius, the probation service’s case management system, since its inception in 2013 following the “Gypsy or Irish Traveller” ethnicity option being included in the 2011 Census.

The Ministry of Justice has produced guidance for all criminal justice staff on working with GRT communities. This covers the importance of recording ethnicity and how to overcome the issues of low recording.

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