Letter of complaint to Channel 4 Dispatches and Ofcom about the programme ‘The Truth about Traveller Crime’, broadcast on 16th April 2020.
As an organisation that has been working with the Traveller community for a considerable period, we would like to express our shock and dismay at this progamme and urge others to do the same.
Travellers have experienced institutionalised racism and discrimination for years in every area of their lives and particularly in the Criminal Justice System where they are over represented. They currently make up approximately 5% of the prison population in the UK (in comparison to 0.1% of the general population), despite the programme implying that they can commit offences with impunity. We would ask that Dispatches explain why they believe this over representation exists when the programme implies that Travellers are not dealt with adequately by the Police and Criminal Justice System?
Dispatches, in response to complaints about the programme, has said that they ‘examined an important issue which was addressed fairly, accurately and with due impartiality.’ We would ask Dispatches to justify this statement, when the programme simply looked at the association between some Traveller sites and crime levels and was therefore completely unrepresentative of the Traveller community as a whole, 90% of whom live in houses.
The Irish Chaplaincy which has been working with Travellers for many years was not asked to contribute to the programme and is extremely concerned that Dispatches and Channel 4 has targeted and misrepresented a vulnerable community in such a sensationalist and discriminatory way.
We are concerned that this programme could reinforce prejudice against and negative stereotyping of the entire Traveller community, and lead to an increase in discrimination towards an already excluded group. We also question the appropriateness of airing the programme at the current time of the coronavirus pandemic, which could affect Travellers disproportionately due to often insecure housing and employment.
To complain to Channel4 – https://www.channel4.com/4viewers/contact-us
To complain to Ofcom (communications services regulator) https://ofcomforms.secure.force.com/formentry/SitesFormCSLEStandardsComplaints