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Race Hate Crime concerns in the capital
22 March 2004
Issued on behalf of London-wide Race Hate Crimes Forum by the MPA
The London Race Hate Crimes Forum has started a programme to investigate how five London boroughs with the highest levels of race hate crime are dealing with these incidents.
The Forum was launched last year to reduce race hate crime in the capital and comprises London’s main statutory and voluntary sector bodies. They will meet with borough commanders, local authority housing chief executives and borough solicitors over the next few months.
Peter Herbert, MPA member, a Recorder and Chair of the Forum commented:
“We are committed to ensuring that the statutory agencies use the full range of legal powers at their disposal to vigorously combat this menace to the safety and security of everyone in the capital.
“If we become aware of any deficiencies, we will investigate and seek an effective response. One of the Forum's initiatives, which has the full support of the judiciary in London, involves judges at the Old Bailey monitoring the handling of race hate crime prosecutions."
The boroughs of Hounslow, Greenwich, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Westminster will be asked to explain their high levels of race hate crime. In particular the Forum will examine the number of evictions and injunction proceedings taken against council tenants, as against the numbers of victims moved.
Patterns are emerging which suggest a correlation between those boroughs with an ineffectual legal response to racist tenants and with a low rate of Antisocial Behaviour Orders and Antisocial Behaviour Contracts, as having the highest number of race hate crimes.
The Forum is at present monitoring the performance of a race hate crime hotspot on the Syon estate in Brentford, which has seen a catalogue of racist attacks and harassment targeting a number of Asian, Somali, and African-Caribbean families over the last three years. The Forum has met already with the Borough Commander of Hounslow and plans to meet with the Chief Executive of Hounslow in early April to address concerns.
The Forum will be placing race hate crime higher on the agenda for the capital's Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships, which at present do not seem to have taken up the issue as a central target.
Peter Herbert concluded:
”The number of race hate crimes reported in the capital currently runs at 15,000 per year. The Home Office estimate of under reporting is that this represents only 10% of the total, which means a massive problem continues to blight the lives of thousands of families and individuals in London. Local authorities, police forces, employers, schools and the general public cannot become complacent particularly in the light of xenophobia and racism likely to result from further acts of terrorism in the UK or abroad.
”Supported by Government Office for London, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and the Mayor of London, the Forum is seeking to ensure a zero tolerance of racism in the capital.”
Notes to editors
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