IT IS National Hate Crime Awareness Week (NHCAW) – and the Metropolitan Police are taking part in activities to highlight the issue and encourage victims, and anyone who knows or suspects incidents of such crime, to report them to police or a third party organisation.
The Met has seen a steady increase in the reporting of hate crime, particularly racist and religious hate crime, with spikes in reporting following the EU Referendum and recent terrorist attacks. However, this is also in due to the growing willingness of victims to report crime and the improved awareness by police, along with the continued work with partners to identify offences and support victims.
Hate crime is, however, still hugely underreported and no one should suffer in silence. Hate crime incidents may involve a physical attack, damage to property, bullying, harassment, verbal abuse, insults or online abuse using social media. Types of hate crime can include anti-Semitism, homophobia, Islamophobia, transphobia and disability hate crime.
Chief Superintendent Dave Stringer said, “London is such a diverse and tolerant city, but too many still feel marginalised, or worse intimidated to go about their daily lives due to their race, faith, sexual orientation, gender or disability. This is why the Met is proud to be supporting #NHCAW 2017.
“This is an opportunity for officers to continue raising awareness of hate crime and encourage victims to come forward. However we know that all hate crime is under reported which is why we will continue to work hard to gain the trust and confidence of all communities so victims feel they can come forward. Our message to all victims is, don’t suffer in silence.””
The Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden, said, “The Mayor is clear that the Met Police should take a zero-tolerance approach to all hate crime. We continue to work with the Met, communities, schools and local authorities to drive down these crimes and have restored neighbourhood policing, with two dedicated ward officers and a PCSO in each London ward by the end of this year.
“In April we also launched an Online Hate Crime Hub, which works with community experts to develop the police’s understanding of online hate, helping officers tackle it more effectively and improving services for victims. We are also working to increase support for victims of hate crime, investing a further funding over the next three years into specialist organisations. I encourage Londoners to get involved in National Hate Crime Awareness Week and urge anyone who witnesses or suffers this abusive behaviour – both online and in person – to report it so we can take action, support victims and bring perpetrators to justice.”
On 10th October, Superintendent Shabnam Chaudhri received the “Outstanding Contribution” award by the No2H8 Crime Awards 2017. The award was in recognition of her work engaging with diverse communities across London, especially working with women in hard-to-reach groups. Shabnam works with women to raise awareness around issues such as hate crime, domestic abuse and delivers empowerment presentations to women from the hard to reach groups.
In the last twelve months, the Met has seen a rise in all but one area of hate crime, with Islamophobic hate crime offences having the highest increase of 21.5% (from 1,351 offences to 1,642 offences) and homophobic crime increasing by 5.8% (from 1,965 offences to 2, 079 offences). Disability hate crime incidents saw a decrease of 9.4% (from 584 offences to 529 offences). Officers will be visiting various locations across London including synagogues, mosques, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) venues to listen to concerns.
The number of people reporting hate crime continues to rise and it is believed this is due to a range of factors which include a growing willingness of victims to report hate crime, an overall improved awareness of staff in identifying these offences, and work with partners to support victims. World events can also contribute to a rise in hate crime. To this end, the Met has 900 specialist hate crime investigators within the 32 London Borough Community Safety Units.
•Follow your local policing team on their local Met Twitter account to find out what activities they are involved in during National Hate Crime Week.
•If you or someone you know is suffering hate crime, or has suffered hate crime in the past, please contact police on 101. You can also report hate crime through the MOPAC hate crime app. In an emergency dial 999.
•Online reporting can be accessed via the “Reporting Crime” webpage at: www.met.police.uk
•If you can’t tell the police, report hate crime to a third party such as Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or contact a bespoke race, faith, disability or LGBT organisations. Information on these can be found on the True Vision website: www.report-it.org.uk
•Third Party Reporting Centres are a safe neutral location within the community where people can report hate crime or hate crime incidents without having to contact the police directly. Anybody can use this facility regardless of whether they are a victim, witness or just someone who is aware of information that needs to be reported.