The majority of violent inner-city crime is committed by black men, police figures suggest.
Police hold black men responsible for more than two-thirds of shootings and more than half of robberies and street crimes in London, according to figures released by Scotland Yard. The statistics released under Freedom of Information laws have provoked a debate about the racial make-up of violent crime in the capital. The data, which provides the ethnicity of the 18,091 men and boys who police took action against in London during 2009-10, looked at both violent and sexual offences.
It found that 67 per cent of those caught by police for gun crimes were black.
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Among those proceeded against for street crimes, including muggings, assault with intent to rob and snatching property, 54 per cent were black males.
On sex offences, black men made up 32 per cent of all male suspects, with 49 per cent of those apprehended by police being white men.
The statistics also suggest that police hold black women accountable for a disproportionate amount of violent crime. On knife crime, 45 per cent of suspected female perpetrators were black.
Among those women and girls police took action against for gun crime, 58 per cent were black and in robberies that figure was 52 per cent.
The police statistics relate to those prosecuted - whether convicted or acquitted - issued with a caution, warning or penalty notice.
But they also include a number of suspects arrested by police that the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to charge and those whose crimes were 'taken into consideration' during proceedings for other offences.
Unsolved crimes were not included. Just over 12 per cent of London's 7.5million population is black, including those of mixed black and white parentage, while 69 per cent is white, according to the Office for National Statistics.
But the police figures also show that black men are more likely to be the victims of violent crime, with 832 out of 2,882 of male victims of shootings in 2009-10 being black. They killing each other.
Critics say the figures merely show the continuing prevalence of racism in the Metropolitan Police.
Annual figures show that black people are at least six times more likely to be stopped and searched than their white counterparts.
Richard Garside, of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at King's College London, said: 'Given Britain's long history of racism and imperialism it should not greatly surprise us that black and minority ethnic groups are disproportionately members of social classes that have tended to experience greater victimisation and to be the subject of police attention.
'Just because the police treat black men as more criminal than white men, it does not mean that they are.'
But one black politician said the black community needed to face up to major challenges.
Shaun Bailey, a Tory election candidate in London and charity worker, said: 'The community has to look at itself and say that, at the end of the day, these figures suggest we are heavily - not casually - involved in violent crime. We are also involved in crime against ourselves - and we regularly attack each other.'
The Metropolitan Police declined to comment on the statistics.