Consultation launches to seek views on tackling hate crime in London

04 July 2014

The Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime is seeking the views of Londoners and organisations, in order to increase the confidence of communities to report hate crimes to the police, better support victims and to ensure more effective enforcement against perpetrators of hate crime.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has made dealing with hate crime a priority and has pledged to develop a new strategy, working with key partners including the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), the Crown Prosecution Service and Ministry of Justice, as well as voluntary and community organisations across the capital.

A consultation has now been launched to give Londoners and organisations a chance to inform the strategy ahead of the document's launch in Autumn this year. The strategy will cover crimes perceived by the victim or another person as being motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a personal characteristic including race, religion, sexual orientation and disability.

Hate crime can include verbal abuse, physical assault, domestic abuse, harassment and damage to property. Crime figures running from 12 months to May 2014 show reports of racist and religious hate crime had increased by 8 per cent whilst reports of homophobic offences increased by 7 per cent*. The Metropolitan Police Service believe these increases are down to a range of factors including a growing willingness of victims to report incidences, an improved awareness of MPS staff to identify these offences alongside support provided by more than 500 specialist hate crime investigators.

Additional work is already underway to increase confidence in reporting hate crime and to work more closely with the capital's diverse communities to better respond to this issue. For example, the Mayor delivered on his commitment to ensure there is a designated LGBT liaison officer for every borough.

The Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Stephen Greenhalgh, said: 'London is one of the most diverse cities in the world, which is a real cause for celebration and a key factor in its economic and cultural success, but we also want it to be the greatest and safest big city. Levels of hate crime are too high and there is significant under-reporting. Working with key organisations such as the Metropolitan Police, the Mayor and I are committed to improving the city's approach to tackling hate crime and we are seeking wider views to help us do this. London is a city where we should be free to live our lives how we choose, but not free to hate.'

Commander Mak Chishty, MPS lead for hate crime, said: 'The Metropolitan Police Service is committed to tackling hate crime in all its forms. We have long since recognised the impact of hate crime on communities and the hidden nature of this crime, which remains largely under reported. We are always seeking ways to increase reporting and the consultation, launched today, will help us to better understand how we can improve confidence amongst victims and shape the services we provide.'

Notes to editors

*An increase in the number of offences does not necessary indicate an increase in the prevalence of hate crime. For example, data shows that compared to 2007008 reports of homophobic crime have increased by 21 per cent. The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) however shows that homophobic hate crime has reduced by 44 per cent since 2007-08. The consultation document states that there is no reason to assume the picture in London is any worse and we can reasonably assume that the increase in reports is due to increased confidence to report – the gap between CSEW incidents and reports having narrowed – rather than an increase in incidents.

The consultation questionnaire can be found here: www.london.gov.uk/priorities/policing-crime/consultations

The new hate crime strategy will aim achieve the following:

  • An increase in the number of hate crime reported to the police;
  • A decrease in the number of repeat victims;
  • An increase in the number of positive outcomes for victims, including sanction detection rates;
  • An increase in hate crime victims' confidence in the police; *A reduction in the confidence gap between victims of hate crime and victims of other crime types;
  • An increase in the satisfaction rates for hate crime victims.
  • Analysis of hate crime data undertaken by MOPAC indicates that in the rolling year to May 2014, the number of recorded offices in each category has increased:
    • Disability hate crime by 13% (from 107 to 121);
    • Faith hate crime by 25% (from 673 to 843);
    • Homophobic hate crime by 7% (from 1106 to 1185);
    • Racist and religious hate crime by 8% (from 9187 to 9918);
    • Transgender hate crime up 65% (from 51 to 84).