Newcastle Law School

Race, Crime and Justice Research Group

Race, Crime and Justice Research Group


This project was generated by concern about the impact of the EU Referendum vote on attitudes towards ‘race’ and ethnicity in the region.

Within the region, post-industrial areas such as Middlesbrough and Sunderland voted relatively very strongly for the UK to leave the EU and particularly in these areas (but also elsewhere in the region), there has been an alarming rise in reports of the numbers and types of ‘race’ hate crime incidents. Hostility has grown to those who are or appear to be of non-White British origin including many minorities who have been born and grown up in the UK.

Two events were held. Event 1: ‘Prosecuting Race Hate Crime’: Guest Speaker: Caroline Airs, Inclusion & Community Engagement Manager, CPS North East (Dec 2016). This event provided the opportunity for NEREF members to attend a Seminar to feed into the recent Consultation on the CPS public policy statements on Racially and Religiously Aggravated Hate Crime. Event 2: Challenging Race Hate Conference (June 2017) – a half day event aimed at discussing the Northumbria PCC Strategy on Challenging Race Hate Crime and hearing from researchers and activists in the Region. This attracted approximately 90 people from organisations working on anti-racism. 

A directory has been developed detailing those organisations which are able to provide advice and information on ‘race’ hate crime and related issues, specifying details such as availability, opening hours, types of interpretation available etc. Organisations have also contributed to an on-line source of models of best practice which promotes work and practices undertaken to respond to ‘race’ hate crime or in promoting racial equality in their work. The work as a whole has strengthened NEREF’s role as the key coordinating organisation for race equality in the region.

"NEREF with its extensive mailing list provides a unique opportunity to reach a large number of BME groups in the North East to disseminate information and seek views and feedback. The event in December provided an important opportunity to raise awareness amongst NEREF members of the CPS approach to the prosecution of Racist and Religious Hate Crime and to obtain useful feedback from members on the proposed new CPS policy statement to feed into the national consultation." Caroline Airs, Inclusion & Community Engagement Manager, CPS North East.

“Dame Vera Baird, Police & Crime Commissioner for Northumbria was delighted to address the conference on 'Challenging Race Hate Crime'. Vera re-enforced the message, it's fundamental that all victims - whoever they are - have the confidence to report hate crimes. There's no place in Northumbria for targeting someone for who or what they are and officers will take action against anyone perpetuating this unacceptable type of behaviour.  Meanwhile the police are continuing to work with key partners such as NEREF to engage with communities, listen to their concerns and build a picture of hate crime across the force area.” Nitin Shukla, Policy, Performance & Scrutiny Officer, Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner for Northumbria. 

Northumbria PCC Vera Baird


On these pages, you can find out more about how this network supports and carries out research concerning race equality, crime and social justice.

The ‘Race’, Crime and Justice Regional Research Network (RCJRRN) is a grouping of researchers from academic, research and policy backgrounds on which all five North East region Universities are represented (Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teesside). The group undertakes independent and commissioned research, and analyses and comments on policy and practice issues in relation to the experience of ethnic minorities in the region of the criminal justice system, broadly defined. It publishes reports on relevant issues and is available to speak at conferences around these and related issues.

RCJRRN supports the work of the North East Race Equality Forum (NEREF).  NEREF was formally launched in December 2014 and provides a voice for all community based organisations, policy makers, institutions and academics involved in promoting and ensuring Race Equality throughout the region.  NEREF met in May 2015 to develop core organisation priorities for the group. 

To contact NEREF please email:

To contact the North East Regional Race Crime and Justice Network please email:

Use the tabs above for:

  • Research briefings
  • Information briefings
  • Events
  • Contacts
  • Publications
Lady justice figure


Research briefings and information briefings can be found below.


Download presentations from recent events and let colleagues know about your relevant event.

Racism in Higher Education Webinar

NEREF Event: Wednesday 18th November, 1:45-4:30pm

In recent years, and accelerated by the nationwide Black Lives Matters movement, there has been growing concern within higher education about the continuing ‘whiteness ‘ of the curriculum. Even disciplines within the social sciences, which are nominally concerned with such issue as equality, poverty, social inclusion and diversity have tended to have very weak strands of work around ‘race’ and ethnicity. In the last few years however several major reports have emerged which are beginning to address this shameful gap. NEREF is convening a national webinar which will present the findings of some of these reports including the Social Policy Association’s report on the lack of a dimension of ‘race’ in most higher education teaching; the Royal Historical Society’s report on the failure of history teaching properly to address key issues such as empire, colonialism and slavery, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission report on racism in higher education. All are welcome to attend this zoom event details of which are appended but we are limiting numbers to ensure that the webinar is manageable.

Register here and for details of the event please see our NEREF Webinar Programme Nov 2020.

To see the work and research on Anti-Racism at Newcastle visit our Social Science webpage.

25 years on: Racism and (In)Equality since MacPherson

Neref Event: Thursday 29 November 2018
Northumbria University, Sutherland Building

This event will provided the opportunity for our members to engage in a dialogue about the impact of the MacPherson Inquiry 25 years on from the death of Stephen Lawrence and 19 years on from the publication of the MacPherson Report.  We were delighted to have very distinguished guest speakers, Dr Nadia Habashi and Marsha Garrett who set the scene for participant discussion in the afternoon. 

‘Working with Young People – everyday racism and the Prevent Agenda’

Tuesday 27 March 2018, Teesside University 

This event provided an opportunity for our members to engage in a dialogue about the Prevent strategy, what it is, how it affects them and particularly how it affects their work and relationship with young people.  We were delighted to welcome Professor Paul Thomas and Paul Giannassi, OBE (Police Superintendent, Government Lead for Hate Crime) as keynote speakers and a range of workshops aimed at providing a varied discussion to produce ideas for moving forward. Many thanks to all our Workshop Leads – Marsha Garratt, All In Youth Project (Racism, colourism and skin bleaching); Claire Rodgerson, Helen Gray and James Kingett, Show Racism the Red Card (The Routes Project: Working with young people in a pre-Prevent space) and Dr Bankole Cole, Reader, Sheffield Hallam University and Dr Nadia Habashi (Policing Young People)

Professor Paul Thomas: Working with young people – everyday racism and the Prevent agenda

Paul Gianassi: The UK Approach to Hate Crime

Challenging Race Hate Crime Event

June 15 2017

We were delighted to host the Challenging Race Hate Crime Event on Thursday June 15th.  We would like to thank the Institute for Social Renewal for supporting the event through their funding programme and also to the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioners Office for their support. We were also delighted to have the support of Chi Onwurah MP (Newcastle Central).

Many thanks to all our speakers: Dame Vera Baird (Northumbria PCC), Dr Ian Fitzgerald, Reader, Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University, Newcastle and Professor Rafal Smoczynski, Professor, Polish Academy of Sciences, Ijjou Thompson, Diverse Women’s Network, Michelle Redfern, Community Engagement Officer, Northumbria Police, Merwa Zen, Regional Refugee Forum, North East Community Safety Working Group, Dr Rick Bowler & Dr Amina Razak, Centre of Applied Social Studies, University of Sunderland.  They have allowed us to add their presentations on the website so that you can have access to them:

Merwa Zen and Georgina Fletcher, Regional Refugee Forum, North East Community Safety Working Group: Regional Refugee Forum, Action to address the distinct factors that deter Refugee and Asylum Seekers from reporting Hate

Dr Ian Fitzgerald, Reader, Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University Newcastle and Professor Rafal Smoczynski, Professor, Polish Academy of Sciences: Brexit and the Polish ‘community’ in the North of England

Dr Rick Bowler & Dr Amina Razak, Centre of Applied Social Studies, University of Sunderland: Young People as Cultural Critics: Resisting Mono-Cultural Landscapes]

For more information on Hate Crime and how to report please see the following link:

Ustinov Race Crime and Justice events

These events are hosted by the Ustinov College Race Crime and Justice Scholarship students (Durham University).  The Scholarship was developed by Professor Maggie O'Neill and has been continued by Professor Glenn McGregor.  The Scholarship students continue to remain linked to the North East Race Crime and Justice Research Network developing events in this area.

Members of the Race Crime and Justice Network have been involved in speaking at these events. 

Ustinov College website

Scholarship holders include:

  • 2012-2013 [year 1]. Celine Opphelder [MSc in Criminology]
  • 2013-2014 -[year 2]. Jesper Pederson [PhD School of Government and International Affairs]
  • 2014-2015 [year 3]. Valentina Amuso and Jason Haynes   [PhD  Politics/School of Government and International Affairs]
  • 2015-16 [year 4]. Vicky Meaby and Raven Bowen  [PhD in the  School of Applied Social Sciences]

NEREF and PCC Hate Crime Conference October 2015


Should you wish us to notify NEREF Members of an event then please contact: Jenny Johnstone, Newcastle University, email:



Get in touch with members of the network.

We have also established a Steering Group from NEREF.  We are very grateful for the support and involvement of all our Steering Group members.

  • Nitin Shukla
  • Nadeem Ahmed
  • Pat Poinen
  • Marsha Garratt
  • Shahda Khan
  • Claire Rodgerson
  • Vicki Harris

We are always looking for new members so if you are interested then please contact Jenny at  

Role and Remit of NERRCJRN Steering Group



Published in association with the Group

  • Between destitution and a hard place (Fiona Cuthill, Omer Siddiq Abdalla and Khalid Bashir)
  • Written out of the picture: child poverty and refugees (Steve Crossley and Georgina Fletcher)

 All these reports are available via Gary Craig, address TBC

Responses to Consultations and Inquiries

Current Research

Research: Directory and Best Practice models

As a result of the Forum Meeting in February 2016 it was decided that we would try and develop a directory of organisations that work to promote race equality in the region.  In addition to identify models of best practice that these organisations are engaged with.  We have developed pro-formas which have been disseminated to NEREF members and they are going through the process of completing them.

To help us with this we have, with the support of Newcastle University Law School, three students working with us over the summer undertaking various tasks. They are:

  • Ewan Smith who has been responsible for undertaking a scoping study of all organisations that currently exist to promote race equality in the North East.
  • Chloe Abbott has been looking at the incidences of hate crime post Brexit in the North East and also looking at the national picture.
  • Raymond Chan has been identifying organisations which have publicly available examples of best practice in responding to race equality and hate crime – both from public agencies and voluntary sector organisations.

Ewan, Chloe and Raymond are all Graduates of Newcastle Law School in 2016 and the Research Network and Forum are grateful to them for their hard work and input which will form the basis of future events, activities and research. 

The Directory and Best Practice examples have now been finalised. Please see links to access details about the groups.