Boris Johnson has announced a “cross-governmental commission” into racial disparities in education, health and criminal justice. It is the latest of a series of reports into ethnic injustices over recent years.
What it was: Commissioned by the then home secretary, Jack Straw, four years after Stephen Lawrence was murdered by a gang of white youths, it was tasked with examining the investigation and prosecution of such racially-motivated crimes.
What it found: Led by the retired high court judge Sir William Macpherson, it found the police investigation into Lawrence’s murder had been hampered by incompetence and institutional racism. The 70 recommendations helped make the police more diverse, in part through targets, and changed the way they approach racial matters.
What it was: Commissioned under David Cameron as prime minister, who asked the then Labour backbencher (now shadow justice secretary) David Lammy to look into discrimination against black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) people by the criminal justice system.
What it found: Lammy concluded that BAME people face “overt discrimination” in parts of the justice system. He made 35 recommendations, including that prosecutions against some suspects should be deferred or dropped. Little of this was ever implemented.
What it was: Ordered by the then PM, Theresa May, this was a data-led exercise intended to establish the facts about differing outcomes for various ethnic groups across a variety of areas.
What is found: It uncovered what May called “uncomfortable truths” about vastly different experiences for ethnic groups in Britain’s schools, workplaces, hospitals and justice system. Johnson’s new commission appears set to build in part on its work.
What it was: Ordered by May in 2015, when she was home secretary, this looked into deaths in police custody, including the disproportionate number of people from BAME backgrounds who die while detained by police. It was led by Dame Elish Angiolini QC, a senior lawyer and legal official.
What it found: Concluding that “there is evidence” of racial disproportionality in police restraint deaths, its recommendations – some of which are yet to be introduced – included video cameras in police vans, and an end to officer conferring before they submit statements.
What it was: Commissioned by Sajid Javid when he was business secretary, this was led by the Tory peer and businesswoman Ruby McGregor-Smith, who was asked to look at racial disparities in work, particularly over pay and advancement.
What it found: It concluded that a combination of managers tending to promote people similar to themselves, and some outright discrimination, tended to hold back workers from BAME backgrounds. McGregor-Smith called for employers to publish data on their workforce by ethnicity and pay band. Some now do this.
What it was: Authored by Wendy Williams, the inspector of constabulary, it was commissioned by the Home Office to examine the treatment of mainly older Britons from Caribbean backgrounds who were wrongly targeted for immigration enforcement, and in some cases deported. It followed reporting by the Guardian about the plight of many of those affected.
What it found: While the report stopped short of calling the Home Office institutionally racist, it said the repercussions from the so-called hostile environment for immigration were “foreseeable and avoidable”. It prompted an apology from Priti Patel, the home secretary, but no notable policy changes, with the hostile environment still in place.