Dismore challenges Mayor and Police Commissioner over shocking rise in race hate crime post Brexit Referendum

Andrew Dismore, Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden today questioned the Mayor and Metropolitan Police Commissioner over the rise in race hate crime after the EU referendum.

Mr Dismore referred to the Commissioner’s reported comments that in London there were 599 reports of race hate crimes after the referendum between 24th June and 2nd July.

On any given day, there are usually between 25 and 50 racial incidents in London, but on 26th June there were 62 and the following Tuesday, 64 reports.

Mr Dismore put to the Mayor, that the Brexit vote had sparked off a spike in racial hate crime including racial insults and harassment, towards not just EU citizens but also those from Africa and South Asia for example, which ignorant perpetrators seem to think are parts of the EU.

Mr Dismore also asked:

‘To what extent is there a problem of under reporting particularly among victims who are of the older generation? Do you monitor and follow up social media reports of hate crime and insults, and if not will you do so: a quick trawl over 3 days after the referendum has turned up over 70 examples in London alone?’

The Commissioner said that Borough Commanders were proactive at the local level to encourage reporting and agreed to review the social media evidence that Mr Dismore referred to and which has now been sent to him.

Mr Dismore also raised the need for action in schools:

‘To what extent do you work with schools, where racial insults and name calling may not be treated with the seriousness deserved, and where later intolerance may find its roots?’

Mr Dismore welcomed the Mayor’s commitment to write to all head teachers in London to raise the importance of tackling the problem in schools.

After the City Hall plenary meeting, Mr Dismore said:

‘Whilst I agree with the Mayor, that most of those who voted ‘leave’ are not all involved in this, the ‘leave’ vote did not give ‘permission’ for racial insults and harassment as some misguided individuals seem to think.  Such conduct is  a crime and the Mayor’s promised   zero tolerance approach  must  mean effective  and swift investigation and prosecution.

‘More needs to be done to encourage reporting of such incidents , as if perpetrators get away with insults they will become emboldened and worse follows, as we have seen with the desecration of a mosque, the graffiti on the Polish Centre and examples of physical violence.

‘It is clear that those responsible for such racist behaviour do not confine their abuse to EU citizens either. Appalling conduct to people of African and South Asian heritage has also been rife, and the problem extends to Antisemitism and Islamophobia too.

‘The police must urgently get a grip on these crimes to reflect the Mayor’s correct demand for zero tolerance.’