Community leader sceptical of Police race crime figures

By Raymond Doherty and David Burroughs

A Kingston community leader has questioned police figures which appear to show a 30 per cent drop in racially-motivated crime.

John Azah OBE, director of the Kingston Race and Equalities Council, has expressed his doubt about annual figures released by Kingston Metropolitan Police which show a drop in reported racially aggravated offences from 107 to 84. 

Mr Azah said: “I am always very sceptical of these numbers although they are useful frames to work with. There is no clear picture of how many cases are going unreported.”

The drop in racial crime had initially been welcomed after an a year when Kingston’s mosque had been the subject of a savage attack. Local residents had been appalled when racists attacked the mosque, smashing windows, hurling bottles and leaving bacon on the building’s steps.

Mr Azah explained: “The police don’t have the best reporting mechanisms locally,” he added. “They don’t get referred to the KREC.”

Detective Inspector Ray Williams said: “Kingston Police have strong partnerships with KREC, Kingston Mosque and the Islamic Resource Centre. Statistics of all racially motivated and aggravated incidents are shared with KREC.”

However, the KREC itself has not noticed any significant fall in reports of racial discrimination within the local area. Mr Azah said that for the data to be representative, the police should adopt a system whereby victims are referred to the KREC to receive the support they need and ‘make it less politicised.’                                        

Nevertheless, Kingston rightly holds a reputation as one of the safest boroughs in London. With a drop of 30 per cent in officially reported racially motivated crime, Kingston has seen a bigger improvement than the rest of the greater London, which saw a fall in racial crime of only 20 per cent.

Rizwan Khaliq, Community Welfare officer for the Kingston Muslim Association said: “Kingston has an astute appreciation of racial equality and shows more maturity than other boroughs.”

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