Cultural inequalities risk creating lost generation of men

PUBLISHED: 14:51 30 April 2019 | UPDATED: 14:51 30 April 2019

Phanuel Mutumburi, business and operations director at Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE)  Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Phanuel Mutumburi, business and operations director at Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE) Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Rachel Edge

Unresolved cultural inequalities risk creating a lost generation of young men, according to an Ipswich diversity campaigner.

Tavis Spencer-Aitkens  Picture: CONTRIBUTEDTavis Spencer-Aitkens Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Phanuel Mutumburi, a director of the Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality, said communities would be left behind by an overreliance on enforcement to deal with youth violence and knife crime, without addressing the root causes.

In 2017, the government's Race Disparity Audit found the risk of being a crime victim was highest for people from mixed, black and Asian adult populations.

Confidence levels in the police were lower among black and mixed populations, while black people were almost six times as likely to be stopped and searched.

Mr Mutumburi said there was still work to be done across society – 20 years on from the Macpherson Report's findings on disparity in public institutions.

“Our ethos is that it takes a village to raise a child. This affects everyone,” he said.

“Communities are the victims. They don't want crime in their neighbourhoods, but issues preclude them from talking about it, including fear of reprisal.

“Have we gone far enough to implement suggestions in the MacPherson Report? The general answer is we haven't, because we still see people that don't feel comfortable coming forward.”

Mr Mutumburi said work had been carried out on Racecourse estate to identify solutions.

“It seems simple, but people are saying let's keep street lights on and make streets cleaner,” he said.

“We need to get rid of the 'ghetto' image. It's a simple step towards changing perceptions.

“We need people with lived experiences to inform the communities they serve – and more needs to be done to improve their experiences, so others can see someone who looks like them succeeding in an organisation.”

Mr Mutumburi called for those in the criminal justice system to be afforded more opportunity to escape the cycle of re-offending.

“One of the biggest issues is the difficulty those with a record have in gaining opportunities,” he said.

“What becomes readily available to them is a life of crime.

“Maybe there is a need for a different approach.

“Young people from certain backgrounds are more likely to be stopped and searched, go to prison and receive higher sentences.

“If we don't do something, we'll have a lost generation finding it increasingly difficult to engage.”

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