Racial violence and the night-time economy

Research by the Institute of Race Relations reveals the continued prevalence of racial attacks, abuse and harassment occurring late at night and, frequently, fuelled by alcohol.

In 2010, The IRR’s report, Racial violence: the buried issue, showed how people working in certain professions – often those working alone at night – were disproportionately at risk of racially motivated violence.[1] Further investigations noted how taxi drivers in particular continued to face abuse and attack.[2] This update, focusing on violent racism occurring late at night draws attention to a pattern of violence which shows some of the true costs of the lucrative night-time economy.

The night-time economy

The development of the night-time economy in towns and cities across the UK has seen a proliferation of pubs, clubs and bars as well as a parallel increase in supplementary industries such as takeaways, fast food businesses and taxi firms. The sector is seen as key to local regeneration strategies and, in many areas, has been actively promoted by local authorities encouraging investment and relaxing licensing laws. It is worth approximately £66 billion per year.[3]

Our research, however, shows that the night-time economy carries with it a very real threat of racial violence. An analysis of media reported cases over the last six months emphasises that those working in industries related to this sector are vulnerable to racially motivated assault and abuse with incidents frequently happening in clubs, pubs and bars, as well as in public spaces throughout the UK.

Most of these attacks, according to our records, occur over weekends either in the evening or in the early hours of the morning. For the most part they are fuelled by alcohol. The majority of these cases involve the use of physical violence which is accompanied by racist abuse and, in some examples, the use of (or threat to use) weapons including broken glass, hammers, knives and blocks of concrete. Some of the victims are left needing hospital treatment and some have been permanently disfigured due to the severity of their injuries. In almost all of the incidents we have analysed the perpetrators and victims appear to be strangers to one another. Although the attacks we have documented took place throughout the UK there are a large number of reported incidents in Scotland and, in particular, Edinburgh.

see full report here http://www.irr.org.uk/2011/february/ha000011.html

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