Rise in racist, religious and homophobic hate crimes in London


Kashmira Gander
Tuesday 02 December 2014 20:32 GMT

Hate crimes motivated by racism, religion and homophobia have significantly increased in London over the past year, a new report has warned.

Overall, the number of hate crimes reported in the capital rose by more than 20 per cent since last October, to a total of 11,400.

Faith related offences alone are up by 23 per cent, to 1,048, with a record number of incidents in July, the Evening Standard reported. Incidents against disabled people are up by 12.5 per cent, and racist and religious crime has spiked by a fifth.

The majority of hate crime victims are male, and are aged between 20 and 49. Meanwhile, most offenders are male and aged between 20 and 29, around 45 per cent of who are white and British.

The figures were published today in a report on London Mayor Boris Johnson's new strategy to reduce hate crime in London, and links the rise in attacks to national and international events.

Police and LGBT community groups agree that the rise is due to people being more willing to come forward and report incidents, rather than a genuine increase in incidents of hate crime.

But the report by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime highlights that hate crimes are hugely under-reported, perhaps because the public is cautions that the police will not investigate, or for fear of reprisals. Researchers believe that only around 43 per cent of offences are reported to police, and say the problem is more acute among new migrant communities, such as Roma Gypsies.

As many as 95 per cent of hate crimes were anti-Semitic in nature after Israel’s invasion of Gaza. And following the murder of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich, south-east London last year, the report also reveals a spike in anti-Muslim incidents.

Hate crimes targeting the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender (LGBT) community have risen to as many as 100 cases a month, with a monthly increase of 21.5 per cent since March 2014, according to the Metropolitan Police.

In June a record 175 cases of homophobic crime were reported to the Metropolitan police, while hate crime aimed at transgender people has risen from 58 to 108 cases, a rise of 86.2 per cent.

It also underlines the problem of online hate crime.

The Mayor’s plans to tackle hate crime include launching a pilot smartphone app in 2015, where minority communities can report incidents. Better training for CPS, police and court staff have also been proposed, amid claims from victims that they have been failed by the legal system.

Police officers will also create a map to document the top ten areas in London where most hate crimes take place. Police say the new measures will help the police to syphon their resources into areas with problems, and help to reassure local communities.

Deputy Mayor for Policing Stephen Greenhalgh told the Evening Standard: “London is one of the most diverse cities in the world and one of the safest with crime falling across the capital.

“However, far too often people become targets of hate simply because of who they are or what they look like. The Mayor and I are committed to tackling hate crime in all its forms, online and in person.

“This strategy, supported by the Met, the criminal justice system and partners across the board sets out how we plan to do just that and ensure that everyone in London is free to live without fear.”

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