The Colour of Injustice

The Colour of Injustice: 'race', drugs and law enforcement in England and Wales


Speakers: Katrina Ffrench, David Lammy MP, Dr Michael Shiner, David Tucker

Chair: Dr John Collins

Hosted by the Department of Social Policy and The International Drug Policy Unit

Monday 20 May 2019

The Colour of Injustice: ‘Race’, Drugs and Law Enforcement in England and Wales was published by the LSE (International Drug Policy Unit), StopWatch, and Release in October 2018. It shows that the unequal enforcement of drug laws continues to be a source of profound racial injustice, driving the over-representation of black people throughout the criminal justice system, from first point of contact (police stop and search), through arrest and the use of out of court disposals, to prosecution, conviction and sentencing.  While official discourse in this area is dominated by talk of knives, gangs, organised crime groups, drug supply, county lines and modern slavery, The Colour of Injustice tells a different story – one of deprived, minority communities being over-policed and selectively criminalised for minor drug possession offences that are largely ignored in other contexts and for other groups. The key findings and recommendations from the report were presented and discussed by a panel of experts drawn from the political arena, civil society, policing, and the legal professions. 

View Dr Michael Shiner's presentation slides here

Listen to the podcast


The Department of Social Policy @LSESocialPolicy provides top quality international and multidisciplinary research and teaching on social and public policy challenges facing countries across the world.

The International Drug Policy Unit (IDPU) @LSEIDPU is a cross-regional and multidisciplinary project, designed to establish a global centre for excellence in the study of international drug policy.