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Crime

Police ‘taking less action’ on homophobic hate crime despite record-high reports

Nick Duffy April 7, 2016

The Metropolitan Police Service has been accused of “failing” victims of homophobic hate crime – by taking less action than ever before, despite record high reports.

The London Evening Standard today published stats about the police force’s response to hate crimes.

It found that while reports of hate crime are at a record high in the city, the Met are failing to follow up with arrests and prosecutions.

In 2011, 1276 homophobic hate crimes were reported and action was taken in 537 cases.

In 2015 reporting hit a record high, with 1781 homophobic hate crimes were reported – but action was taken in just 321 cases.

The pattern is seen across all categories of hate crime – with increased reports of hate crimes based on race, religion, disability and gender identity – but actions lower than ever.

Chief Superintendent Dave Stringer told the newspaper that a higher proportion of people are reporting “non-violent offences such as an exchange of words”, and that “it is more difficult to capture evidence” in such cases,

However, the claim doesn’t match up with Home Office national hate crime data – which last year showed that homophobic hate crimes were by far the most likely to be violent.

 

Labour’s Mayoral hopeful Sadiq Khan recently told PinkNews: “It’s a badge of shame that in spite of the progress that we have made over the last 20-30 years, if you’re a Londoner who happens to be LGBT, you make yourself vulnerable to hate crime.

“When you speak to young Londoners who are LGBT – more than half, as a consequence of what they face, have mental health issues. More than half have self-harmed or tried to kill themselves.

“That’s heartbreaking, for me that’s unacceptable. The police need to be more aware about this, we need to give Londoners the confidence to report these crimes, we have to educate young people.”

Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith told PinkNews he would also work to engage communities in London “that have views that aren’t as mainstream or as accepting as the majority”.

He added: “The first thing you need to do is ensure that the police have a clear instruction from the Mayor, who is effectively in charge of setting the direction of the police, to have a zero tolerance approach to any kind of hate crime.

“That message needs to be loud and clear. London is an amazing city and we are lucky that despite or maybe because of this incredible diversity we have, we are a harmonious city.

“Coming down very, very, heavy on any sort of hate crime is something the Mayor can do. It’s something the police have to do.”

Rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: “These statistics blow out of the water the idea that London is safe for LGBT people and that the police are bringing the perpetrators to justice. Most anti-LGBT criminals get away with their hate crimes.

“It is a wake up call to the police and the LGBT community.”

A spokesperson for Stonewall said: “While we can’t be certain if a rise in reported homophobic hate crime indicates a rise in incidents or increased confidence in reporting these crimes — or both — there is no denying the decrease in cases that are taken forward in court.

“This is disappointing, and must be addressed. We must unpick what the issues are here to ensure that LGBT people feel more confident in reporting hate crimes.”

More: data, Hate crime, LGBT, London, London

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