Racist violence from a probation service perspective: now you see it, now you don’t
In this chapter we describe and analyse our experience of gaining research access to offenders who had committed acts of racist violence. We relied on the help and co-operation of staff at all levels in what was then the Greater Manchester Probation Service,1 and we are conscious that in what follows we may seem to be ungrateful and ungraciously critical of the organisation without which we would have had no research data at all. So we should be clear at the outset that we do not mean to imply that the difficulties we encountered in finding interviewees for the research were attributable to deficiencies in practice that were peculiar to the Greater Manchester Probation Service; rather, we wish to emphasise the inherent problems in identifying perpetrators of racist violence and finding effective ways of working with them. We believe that the difficulties recounted in this chapter would have arisen anywhere, and we are convinced that the Greater Manchester service’s commitment to taking racist violence seriously was entirely genuine.