First | No place for hate

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No.604 | October 2016

No place for hate crime

by Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board

Councils are best placed to tackle the challenges posed by reported increases in hate crime

National Hate Crime Awareness Week 2016 [08-15 October] is all the more relevant this year. Hate crime report to the police in the last 2 years of July were 49% on the same period in 2015.

The charity Stop Hate UK – which organises the awareness week – saw a 60% increase in reports in late June and referred 40% more cases to the police. Racially-motivated reports more than doubledd.

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Post-referendum racism and xenophobia: abuse reported online [courtesy Worrying Signs/StreetWatch/PostRefAbuse]
Incidents included xenophobic graffiti [for example on the Polish Social and Cultural Association in Hammersmith], arson against a Polish family in Devon, anti-immigation cards distributed outside a primary school, physical assaults and verbal abuse.

Although attacks are perpetrated by a tiny minority – the local community in Hammersmith was quick to offer the Polish Centre sympathy and moral support – both David Cameron and his successor as Prime Minister, Theresa May, have spoken of the need to tackle hate crime, and the Government has published a fresh action plan – Action Against Hate: The UK Goverment’s plan to tackling hate crime [26 July 2016].

Local government has a vital role in building community cohesion and combating extremism. The impact of hate incidents and crimes on both individuals and local areas is far-reaching. Victims are more likely to suffer serious and longer lasting damage when they have been targeted in this way, and the anxiety and tension this causes can permeate entire communities.

As soon as it became that we were facing an increase in incidents, the LGA provided a collection of documents and links on our website [see Community Cohesion and Hate Crime resource]. The page contains useful contacts, guidance, case studies, toolkits and other resources.

Councils are already doing much to combat hate crime.

For example, Essex has established a Strategic Hate Crime Prevention Partnership, bringing together schools, police and voluntary organisations, and using social media to encourage reporting and deliver sessions to schoolchildren.

Birmingham City Council has created a faith map to show the contribution faiths make to life in the city.

Tower Hamlets has a No Place for Hate Forum which brings together the council and key agencies to co-ordinate responses to race and hate crime.

Manchester has worked closely with voluntary and community partners, including housing providers, to establish reporting centres across the city. Each organisation has received training and signed up to a set of standards that support them to deal with incidents.

And Derbyshire has organised hate crime awareness training for staff, partner agencies, housing providers, third sector organisations, and police, probation and fire & rescue services.

Every community is different, and councils are best placed to tackle the challenges each faces. A great deal of good work is being done by the sector, and National Hate Crime Awareness Week offers us an opportunity to promote it and encourage our communities.

Further reading:
Stop Hate UK: Hate crime reporting post-Brexit

PostRefRacism: Post-referendum racism and xenophobia: the role of social media in challenging the normalisation of xeno-racist narratives 

 

Home Office Media Release | Government support for communities in united drive against #HateCrime

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From:Home Office and The Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP
First published:26 July 2016

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has called on communities across Britain to come together and stand united against those who use hate to divide us.

 

Launching the hate crime action plan, published today (26 July 2016), she urged more victims of hate crime to come forward, so that the full scale of the challenge facing communities can be understood and tackled.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said:

This government is determined to build a Britain that works for everyone.

Those who practise hatred send out a message that it’s okay to abuse and attack others because of their nationality, ethnicity or religious background. That it’s okay to disregard our shared values and promote the intolerance that causes enormous harm to communities and individuals.

Well, I have a very clear message for them. We will not stand for it. Hatred has no place whatsoever in a 21st century Great Britain that works for everyone.

We are Great Britain because we are united by values such as democracy, free speech, mutual respect and opportunity for all. We are the sum of all our parts – a proud, diverse society. Hatred does not get a seat at the table, and we will do everything we can to stamp it out.

Ms Rudd, who met campaigners working to combat hate crime today, announced that the hate crime action plan will commit government to work to give young people and teachers the tools they need to tackle hatred and prejudice, including through a new programme to equip teachers to facilitate conversations around international events and the impact they have on communities here in the UK. The government will also work with schools on how to better report incidents of hate crime.

There will be a new assessment of the level of anti-Muslim, anti-semitic, homophobic, racist and other bullying in schools to inform further action to reduce levels of such bullying. Recent statistics from the National Police Chiefs Council have shown that young people were the victims of 10% of faith hate crime and 8% of race hate crime for the 3 week period between 16 June and 7 July 2016.

The Home Secretary also announced plans to commission Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to carry out a scoping study into forces’ understanding of (and response to) hate crime. The study will look at how police forces deal with hate crime, and will look at all strands including disability hate crime.

Hate crime action plan

The hate crime action plan has been developed in partnership with communities and departments across government. It contains measures to increase reporting of incidents and crimes, including working with communities and police to develop third party reporting centres. It covers work to prevent hate crimes on public transport and sets out how stronger support will be provided for victims.

A £2.4 million funding scheme for places of worship will provide security measures and equipment for sites that need increased protection. Representatives from religious communities have raised concerns about crimes which range from graffiti to arson attacks. The scheme will be open for bids for 10 weeks.

The government is taking action against hate at every level and will provide £300,000 to establish 3 community demonstration projects to explore innovative new ways of tacking hate crime in local communities. We will look for schemes covering different strands of hate crime across England and Wales and seek to apply lessons from these projects across wider work to tackle all strands of hate crime.

The government’s commitment to tackling hate crime is underpinned by some of the strongest legislation in the world. This includes specific offences for racially and religiously aggravated activity and offences of stirring up hatred on the grounds of race, religion and sexual orientation. The government has worked with the police to improve our collective response to hate crime including ensuring the recording of religious based hate crime now includes the faith of the victim, a measure which came into effect this year. Joint training has been established between the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to improve the way the police identify and investigate hate crime. Alongside this, the College of Policing has published a national strategy and operational guidance.

MEDIA RELEASE | @ExeterCouncil unanimously agrees @ExeterLabour Group motion on #HateCrime


Media Release | 27 July 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Exeter City Council unanimously agrees Exeter Labour Group motion on hate crime

A Full Council meeting of Exeter City Council meeting held at Exeter Guildhall on Tuesday 26 July 2016 unanimously passed a motion
reaffirming unequivocal condemnation of any form of behaviour that is racist, xenophobic, incites hatred, discriminates against or harms members of our community.

In proposing the Labour Group motion, Cllr Lewis Keen [St David’s] said:
“I’ve proposed this motion concerning hate crime due to a significant rise across the country, and this has been reflected in concern from many residents, who have contacted me and my fellow councillors.”

Cllr Keen continued: “This motion raises awareness [of hate crime] and explicitly condemns this behaviour, and by supporting this motion we can continue to reassure our fellow residents that this Council, this city, does not accept bigotry”

In conclusion, Cllr Keen summed up: “That we welcome everyone and that diversity in Exeter over the centuries has woven a rich history that we are proud of. Many of you have contributed to this motion and I hope that it reflects and encompasses everyone’s feelings on the matter.”

The motion received unanimous approval from all three political represented on Exeter City Council.

The full motion reads:
Exeter’s City Council members wish to reaffirm our unequivocal condemnation of any form of behaviour that is racist, xenophobic, incites hatred, discriminates against or harms members of our community. We are honoured to represent the residents of such a diverse and tolerant city, and we intend to continue to do our utmost to ensure that it is a welcoming, safe place for all.

This Council recognises that our open and welcoming community is a key reason for this city’s prosperity and its significant cultural value in the South West. We also recognise that our city is home to people from many parts of the world, of many faiths and of none, and that we all continue to come out in force standing shoulder to shoulder with every resident – we are immensely proud to see that year on year events such as Exeter Pride and Exeter Respect Festival grow from strength to strength.

However, we also recognise that as a council we must not be complacent and continue to make sure acceptance and integration is a key aspect involved in the decisions we undertake. We will continue to ensure that local partnerships and programmes that combat xenophobia and contribute to integration have our full support.

We state in the strongest and sincerest terms that if any person is a victim of crime in Exeter they need to report it to our local police force. This not only means that the appropriate actions can be undertaken but more detailed records will enable a more effective response in the future – we will not allow hate crime to gain a foothold in our city.

We reassure all people living in Exeter that we will continue to strive every day to welcome, value and protect them. Working together, this city will remain welcoming, safe and inclusive for one and all.

– ENDS –

 

@ExeterCouncil Media Release | Hate crime has no place in Exeter

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Media Release | 30 June 2016

Hate crime has no place in Exeter, City Council stresses

Hate crime has no place in Exeter, Exeter City Council said today, following reports of migrant communities being abused in the city.
Hate crime has risen by 57% across the country since the result of the EU Referendum, according to the National Police Chiefs’ Council.
Cllr Paul Bull, Lead Councillor for Communities and Neighbourhoods, said there had already been reports that migrant communities were being verbal abused and physically attacked in Exeter since last Thursday.
“Hate crime has no place in Exeter,” he stressed. “In the main Exeter is a tolerant city and that our open and welcoming community has a rich mix of cultural heritage, as exhibited by the recent success of the 2016 Exeter Repect Festival in Belmont Park. So I want to reassure all people living in Exeter that they are valued members of our community.”
“However, there is a small minority that believe as a result of the recent referendum that all migrants should be repatriated – and are making their racist and xenophobic views known in violence towards those migrants.
“In particular, our local Polish community appears to be bearing the brunt of this abuse. I want to pay tribute to the brave Polish airmen of 307 Night Fighter Squadron – “The Eagle Owls” – who protected the skies above Exeter. Any attack on our current Polish community is a dishonour to their forebears who helped fight for this country. [1] [2]
“As Chair of Exeter’s Black and Minority Ethnic Forum I am calling for an emergency meeting to bring together local community representatives, partners, agencies and the police to discuss the current situation, and ensure ensure local bodies and programmes have the support and resources they need to fight and prevent racism and xenophobia.
“I welcome the statement from Devon & Cornwall Police’s Diverse Communities Teams and Neighbourhood Teams that they are working hard to provide support and reassurance to all our communities.
“It is vital that we all work closely to promote the message that any instances of ’hate’ such as abuse, harassment or violence are completely unacceptable and will be dealt with robustly, with a zero tolerance approach.
“In the meanwhile, I would urge anyone suffering xenophobic abuse – or anyone witnessing such actions – to report such incidents to the D&C Police and the relevant local authorities.”
=ENDS=
The media release can be found on the ECC website here:
Notes for editors:
[1] On 15 November 1942, the Polish 307 Squadron presented the City of Exeter with a Polish flag, and now on each anniversary this flag is flown above the Guildhall.
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The Polish flag presented by 307 Squadron flying above Exeter Guildhall on 15 November 2015

[2] In 2015, the flag raising ceremony was attended by the Polish Ambassador to the UK, Witold Sobków, who also opened the exhibition: “For Your Freedom and Ours. Polish Squadron 307” in Exeter Guildhall
http://www.londyn.msz.gov.pl/en/news/ambassador_witold_sobkow_in_exeter