Hate crime rise must be stopped

The Home Office today released its official statistics on hate crime in England and Wales, which confirm a sharp increase in the number of recorded incidents in the wake of the vote to leave the EU.

All kinds of hate crimes have increased recently, which is incredibly worrying, and there was a sharp increase in the number of racially or religiously aggravated offences recorded by the police following the EU vote. The number of these offences reported across the country in July 2016 was 41% higher than in July 2015.

London followed this trend and showed an increased in all five types of recorded hate crimes including those based on race, religion, sexual orientation, disability and transgender status.

In the London Assembly we’ve been looking at these kinds of awful statistics regularly in the Police and Crime Committee and, as a city, we simply can’t let the increase in these abhorrent crimes become a permanent feature of our society.

We need strong action to detect and deter people from hate crime, including investigating incidents thoroughly when they are reported, whether they are online or on the streets.

In London we have the advantage of a network of CCTV on public transport and this makes it relatively simple to follow up reports of hate crime and speech on the network. My advice to Londoners is to report all hate crime to the police, especially if there is likely to be CCTV to accompany witness statements.

In June I questioned the Met’s Deputy Commissioner, Craig Mackey, on how CCTV from public transport can be used to provide evidence of these crimes that might help lead to convictions.

He confirmed that images combined with witness reports are very help, and that victims of hate crime should feel comfortable reporting incidents, either directly to the police or through third parties, particularly if there may be CCTV evidence to help trace and identify the criminals.

Hate crime can be reported to the Police via 101 (always use 999 if anyone is in danger) or online via the True Vision website: http://report-it.org.uk/ which also lists third parties who can handle reports.