The media has pounced on statistics from the Ministry of Justice claiming three quarters of rioters in court so far already had a criminal record.
Tory minister Ken Clarke said it confirmed the riots were “existing criminals on the rampage”.
This ignores two things.
The first is that the figures only apply to over-18s. Many charged so far have been under 18.
And more importantly, it ignores the fact that the police’s database will have been the first place they looked when they start rounding people up.
Around a third of all men in Britain under 30 have criminal records, most for minor offences.
Black people of all ages are three times more likely to be arrested than white people, five times more likely to be in prison—and 27 times more likely to be stopped and searched.
The real “hardcore criminals” are the racist police.