Prime Minister David Cameron has reaffirmed the government’s commitment in tackling homophobic crime and has described the current hate crime statistics for England and Wales as “appalling”.

The prime minister made the remarks in a letter of support for last weekend’s London Vigil against Hate Crime in Trafalgar Square.

Mr Cameron said:

“I am passionate about tackling hate crime. And this government is acting. For the first time we have published statistics on hate crime recorded by the police in England and Wales. And we are highlighting the best examples of what works locally, because we know that hate crime is most effectively prevented at a grass roots level, by frontline professionals who have a deep local knowledge of victims and offenders”.

The prime minister went on to say:

“The introduction of elected Police and Crime Commissioners will give local communities more of a say over policing priorities in their area. But let me say clearly: the police and courts will treat all hate crime as a priority – whether that crime is committed because of a person’s race, culture nationality, language, religion, belief, sexual orientation, transgender identity, physical or mental impairment or learning disability”.

Mr Cameron added: “Last year there were more than 43,000 hate crimes in our country. That figure is appalling and it has to change”.

Letters of support for the vigil were also received by Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, London Mayor Boris Johnson, and Ed Miliband.

The Labour leader wrote: “In the three years since the appalling murder of Ian Baynham in Trafalgar Square, awareness of hate crimes has grown, not least because of the London Vigil and countless other local events springing up all over the country.

“We have come a long way on the journey against homophobia and transphobia. Together, we have brought equality closer, from ending Section 28 to outlawing discrimination in the everyday provision of goods and services. But we know there is more to do”.

Mr Miliband added: “My commitment is to work with you to overcome fear and prejudice”.