Hate crime is ‘shameful blight’ on London’s reputation—Tower Hamlets Mayor

John Biggs... concerns of Islamophobia in East End

John Biggs... concerns of Islamophobia in East End - Credit: Archant

Hate crime is “a shameful blight on London’s reputation” after revelations of rising “Islamophobia reported to police, Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs who also represents east London at City Hall said today.

John Biggs [inset], Mayor of Tower Hamlets

John Biggs [inset], Mayor of Tower Hamlets - Credit: Archant

The 70 per cent increase in Islamophobic incidents, revealed by Scotland Yard yesterday, was damaging London’s reputation as a “welcoming world city,” he points out.

More than 800 offences have been recorded by police across London in the 12 months to July, compared to 478 the year before.

The increase was largely down to victims now more willing to go to the authorities with allegations of ‘hate’ crime, Scotland Yard said, while the Met Police now admits its staff are more aware about identifying such offences.

Incidents of “Islamophobia” remained almost static in Mayor Biggs’s own borough of Tower Hamlets—a traditional area of high immigration and ethnic diversity—with 40 cases reported compared to 39 last year.

But anti-Semitic incidents against Jews in the East End went up from four to 18 in the same period.

“Behind every report there is a person being targeted, abused, and living in fear of the next attack,” the Tower Hamlets Mayor and London Assembly member commented.

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“These figures show the rocketing scale of the challenge. But dismissing this as a rise in ‘statistical reporting’ without taking account of the human cost is wrong.”

The situation was made worse, he added, by the 60 per cent rise reported to be against women, sometimes in front their of children.

Met Commander Mak Chishty pledged yesterday: “We won’t tolerate ‘hate’ crime and will take action to investigate all allegations and arrest offenders—no-one should suffer in silence.”

World events and High Holy days, with increased numbers of Muslims and Jews travelling to and from places of worship, can influence a rise in hate crime, police believe.

The figures have been released in the run-up to the Jewish New Year this weekend, with police ready with ‘high visibility’ patrols. Neighbourhood policing teams are on alert on school routes, on holy days and at prayer times “to give reassurance”.

The Met has 900 specialist officers in its Community Safety units dealing with religious and ethnic incidents.

It is in talks with synagogues, mosques and other religious communities, while working with organisations such as the Community Security Trust which tackles anti-Semitism and Tellmama for Islamophobic incidents.