The UK Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, has announced that the way the Police deal with hate crime is to be reviewed by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) after a reported 57% increase of incidents since the EU Referendum result in June.
Over 6,000 hate crimes have been reported to Police since the historic ‘Leave’ result in June, with 289 reports made on 25th June 2016 – just one day after the result was announced.
But why now? Why has it suddenly risen?
Examples of incidents include cards being distributed bearing slogans such as “no more Polish vermin” as well as many reports of non-white people being told to get out of the country. Former UK Prime Minister, David Cameron condemned those who hurled racist slurs at people of ethnic minorities.
With the result of the EU Referendum still dividing the country, is it fair to say that the rise in reported hate crime is a direct effect of the Brexit result? According to BBC Home Affairs correspondant, Danny Shaw, the increase of hate crime is, at least partly due to more awareness of the issues, and more knowledge of how to report it.
Could it even be that the media are just reporting it more than they have before?
It is widely known and acknowledged that the media have a significant influence over how the general public form opinions and with a lot of newspapers pro-Brexit, could the media itself be to blame for the rise in hate crime?
With the referendum result still fresh in people’s minds, could the leave victory have amplified the hatred of those members of the public who are racist? According to Scotland Yard’s Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey, it has. He said that the Brexit vote seemed to have “Unleashed something in people”
When a report comes in about a hate crime against an EU immigrant, Remain supporters are very quick to point the finger of blame towards Leave voters, and say that it was a leave supporter who committed the crime. This may be true, but the majority of them forget that only a small number of leave voters are racist.
Recently, it was reported in East Anglian News, that a Romanian food shop in Norwich was the target of an arson attack, which is suspected to be racially aggravated.
Since the attack, the owner, a woman named Maria, was overwhelmed by the amount of support she and her family received from local residents and visitors.
A Just Giving page was set up to help Maria, with a target of just £500, this soon soared to over £30,000, as well as a group of organised volunteers (myself amongst them) turned up to her shop to assist in cleaning up the damage and helping to install cork-boards for temporary security. Some of these volunteers were, like myself, leave voters who were disgusted by this horrific attack on a business who’s owner has made a life for herself here in the UK.
This cork-board has since been hijacked by hundreds of sticky notes expressing their support and love for the shop, and its owners.
While this particular case has struck a nerve with the local community, the majority of reported hate crimes go unnoticed by the communities in which they are committed.
BBC presenter Trisha Adudu was recently racially abused whilst getting into her car, and apart from a small segment on BBC news, as well as minor media covering, it has marginally been swept under the carpet.
With the rise in reported hate crime 20% higher than compared to the same time last year, what exactly are the Police doing about it?
Mark Hamilton, Assistant Chief Constable for the National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Hate Crime said in a statement; “Police forces are working closely with their communities to maintain unity and tolerance and prevent any hate crime or abuse following the EU referendum.”
Mr Hamilton also confirmed that they were “Monitoring the situation closely”.
Details are as of yet unknown of when HMIC will undertake the review, which will also look at how hate crime and abuse is handled in schools, but Ms Rudd said that the review, which has been commissioned to look at all aspects of Police in England and Wales’ response to and understanding of all types of hate crime, will “help to give confidence, to give reassurance, and also to make sure communities who feel they’re experiencing too much hate crime are able to get that confidence back from the police that it’s being addressed”.
If you live in the United Kingdom and have witnessed any hate crime, you can report it by calling the Police on 101 or by calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.