Adrian Beck, 32

May 17, 1996

Recently Adrian Beck accompanied Dutch police officers in a factory raid. They were looking for illegal immigrants working there, but although none were found, he was able to observe how the non-whites were treated differently from the whites in the factory. The Netherlands law has many parallels with Britain's Asylum and Immigration Act, he says. There are, for instance, stringent fines for employers taking on illegal immigrants - but while here we use national insurance numbers, in Holland it's a question of identity cards.

This is all germane to the ESRC-funded research on "Ethnic Minorities and Policing: the Impact of National Identity Cards" that Beck is conducting from his base at Leicester University's Centre for the Study of Public Order. Later in the year, he will be visiting Germany and France, and talking to police and civil liberties groups there.

Unlike the others on this page, however, Beck will be working on his own. "It was decided that the grant of around Pounds ,000 would be to release me from teaching for nine months rather than to pay for a research assistant. It's not ideal. I may not be teaching but my administrative load hasn't changed."

Although this is his first ESRC grant, Beck is an experienced researcher: a criminologist with a first degree in politics, he has been at the Leicester centre for eight years. This means he has been involved in research for other funders such as the Leverhulme Trust and the Nuffield Foundation - and that by comparison with them the ESRC's procedures are "hideous".

"I was told I'd be given the money in September, but it took until January to agree all the details. . . Also you've got to think through your project in great detail." He concedes, though, that this is not necessarily a disadvantage.

He has a little breathing space before he has to submit the report that is required of every ESRC-funded project. The money runs out in November, but the report is not due until February.

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