Chair: Susie Hulley
Friendship, violence and legal consciousness in the context of joint enterprise
Author: Pritchard Gary, Institute of Criminology, Unviersity of Cambridge
Title: Beyond Our Brief?: Experiences of Activism and Academia in Joint Enterprise Research
Our paper examines the methodological tensions between activism and academia experienced while conducting joint enterprise research in the United Kingdom [UK]. Joint enterprise, a term used to describe a form of secondary liability, has been utilized as a tool to tackle and punish those involved in serious group violence. Its application is contentious with on the one hand sections of the police and victim charities valuing it as an effective instrument that deters street crime and on the other hand, various campaigning organizations who perceive it illegitimate, overly severe and disproportionately affecting young black and minority ethnic men [BAME]. We draw upon Howard Becker’s (1967) insights into the dilemmas inherent in investigating politically-sensitive topics and a key section of social movement literature, around the appropriation and mobilization of political and cultural institutions, to critically reflect upon and help explain the dynamics of our research relationships. In doing so, we attempt to contribute modestly to wider methodological debates within Criminology and the Social Sciences more generally. Our findings suggest that there are important and distinct expectations (which can be with complimentary or conflicting) from both academic and activist communities that the researcher should be attuned to.
Keywords: Joint Enterrpise, Reflexivity, Activism, Violence
Author: Young Tara, SPSSR, Univiersity of Kent
Title: ‘Brief, Brittle and Brutal’: Cjs Perceptions of Young People Social Relationships Within the Context of 'Joint Enterprise'
A disproportionate number of young people from Black and minority ethnic communities (BAME) in England and Wales are serving lengthy prison sentences as a consequence of being convicted under the doctrine of ‘joint enterprise’. Research suggests that the growth in the Black prison population derives from racist practices and stereotypical views held by criminal justice practitioners about BAME social relationships. Drawing on emerging findings from interviews with senior police officers and lawyers investigating and prosecuting cases of serious group-related violence, I highlight the reductive perceptions held by some practitioners about the relationships of young people involved in multi-handed criminality. While acknowledging such attitudes are constructed out of a set of situated acts this paper illustrates how practitioners struggle to identify anything that is positive in young people's relationships and rarely discussed their friendships without reference to the gang. I conclude by arguing the construction of youthful relationships in 'gang' terms and viewing relations within this community as pathological contributes to their incarceration under joint enterprise.
Keywords: joint enterprise, violence, inquality, young people, social relationships, criminal justice system
Author: Hulley Susie, Insititute of Criminology, University of Cambridge
Title: Policing Serious Violence Among Young People: the Role of Trust, Rights and Responsibilies
‘Trust in the police’ by the communities they serve is a ‘mainstay’ of criminological research (Bradford et al 2016). In England, such work exposes lower levels of trust among particular communities, communities from which, in London at least, a high proportion of young homicide victims originate. This poses an investigative problem for the police, as low trust in the police is associated with an unwillingness to report crime and to come forward as a witness – both obstacles to successful prosecutions. This paper considers police officers’ emotive responses to these investigative hurdles in cases of serious violence involving multiple young people, which focus on the ‘duties’ of the communities and barriers to the execution of such duties, including trust in the police, group loyalty and fear. In doing so, the police overlook the precarious nature of joint enterprise and its potential reach. By reflecting on the reciprocal nature of trust and the potential power of proactive trust, we consider the ways in which young people may be encouraged to engage in police investigations into serious violence.
Keywords: trust, joint enterprise, young people, police, violence