• Saturday, April 20, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Hate crime charges drop in London over last five years, data shows

Overall, 8 per cent of reported hate crimes of all types in 2023 resulted in a charge, compared to 12.7 per cent three years earlier.

FILE PHOTO: Demonstrators gather with placards during a protest called by the ‘Stand Up To Racism’ group in Croydon, south London, on April 8, 2017. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

FEWER racist and religious hate crimes in London have led to criminal charges over the past five years, new data has revealed.

The percentage of cases resulting in a charge for hate crime has dropped by 16 per cent from 2,037 to 1,691 over the last five years in the city, data uncovered by the Liberal Democrats this week showed.

However, the number of incidents being reported to the city’s Metropolitan Police increased from 17,844 to 21,083 during the same period.

Analysis revealed that eight per cent of reported hate crimes of all types in 2023 resulted in a charge, compared to 12.7 per cent three years ago and below 11 per cent five years ago.

Citing the latest data, the Liberal Democrats called on London mayor Sadiq Khan to prioritise the handling of racist and religious hate crime by the Metropolitan Police.

They also asked the Conservative government to take more action on a national scale to address the issue, highlighting the role of divisive rhetoric in exacerbating hate crimes.

Liberal Democrat London assembly member and police and crime spokesperson Caroline Pidgeon said racist and religious hate crimes leave victims traumatised and feeling unsafe due to their identity.

“It is extremely worrying that not only has the number of incidents of racist and religious hate crime actually increased in the last five years, but charge rates remain so pitifully low,” Pidgeon added.

London should be an open and welcoming city for everyone, she added.

“The Tory government has implemented brutal cuts to London’s police since 2015, with the number of PCSOs on London’s streets having fallen by 32 per cent. We need to see more bobbies back on the beat to deter this sort of crime,” she said.

“But we also need to see some high-level prosecutions demonstrating that racism and religious hate crimes or hate crime of any kind, are never acceptable. The current data we have unveiled shows that far too few crimes are resulting in a charge, with the situation likely to be even worse in reality than even this data suggests with many people not reporting hate crimes to the police due to a lack of faith in the service to act on the report.”

Responding to the report, a Labour spokesperson emphasised Khan’s commitment to fostering a safer London for all residents.

The spokesperson told Eastern Eye, “Nobody should have to live in fear of being targeted for their race, religion, sexuality, or otherwise.

“He (Khan) has taken major steps to combat a recent rise in hate crime, including the announcement of £250,000 in new funding for the community alliance to combat hate (CATCH) on top the £2 million received from the mayor’s office for policing and crime (MOPAC) enabling it to reach thousands of victims of hate crime a year partnership and the mayor’s shared endeavour fund to extend their work in the capital.”

“The Met has suffered a £1 billion real-terms spending cut under the Tory government. Despite this, Khan has put 1,300 more police on the streets to keep Londoner’s safe – which is his top priority,” the spokesperson added.

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