Current Affairs

Rise in homophobic hate crime in London

Jessica Geen July 16, 2009
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Figures released today by the Metropolitan Police show a 13.5 per cent rise in homophobic hate crimes reported across London.

Between June 2008 and the end of last month, 1,123 incidents were reported, compared with 989 the previous year.

David Allison, spokesman for gay rights group ­OutRage!, suggested that the rise could be due to more gay people being willing to report crime to the police.

He told The London Paper: “These figures show that hate crimes are not something that you can just ignore. It suggests there is something wrong with society that people can’t tolerate each other.

“However, one has to bear in mind that a proportion of the increase is down to a greater willingness of gay people to report these crimes. Previously, because they did not trust the police to investigate them, they thought there was no point.”

Stonewall chief executive Ben Summerskill said: “Gay-hate crimes are too often swept under the carpet. YouGov polling commissioned for Stonewall last year found that three in four lesbian and gay people in London don’t report such crimes to the police because, in spite of the work done to repair relations between police and the gay community, they still don’t think that such offences will be taken seriously. Let’s hope this report serves as a wake-up call to the Met.”

Last month, acting detective superintendent Gerry Campbell, of the Metropolitan police, who led a recent operation against hate crime, said: “Homophobia cannot be considered a thing of the past, it’s on the increase.”

There have been a number of killings of gay men in the past few months.

In May, a gay man was stabbed to death in Tottenham, north London. Daryl Phillips, 39, had been stabbed in the leg and was treated at the scene at Avenue Road, but was later pronounced dead.

Gerry Edwards, 59, was stabbed to death at his home in Bromley, south London in March. His partner, 56-year-old Chris Bevan, was taken to hospital with stab wounds.

According to Crown Prosecution Service figures, prosecutions for crimes involving homophobia rose 60 per cent over the past two years to 995 cases.

A Metropolitan Police survey released last month suggested that women are up to seven times less likely to report homophobic or transphobic crime than men.

The survey, which builds upon 2002 research conducted on behalf of the Home Office, specifically examined women’s experiences of violence and abuse enacted on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Independent research shows that although the rate of reporting to the police is different between men and women, the incident of homophobic crime is similar for both sexes.

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