Hate Crime Awareness Week: Kingston has one of the lowest rates of race hate crime in the capital

Kingston had one of the lowest numbers of reported racist or religiously motivated crime rates in London in the 12 months up to July, according to the Met Police crime dashboard. 

The hate crime data showed that Kingston came second only to neighbouring Sutton.

According to the Home Office, hate crime is defined as “any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic”.

There were 299 hate crimes in the racist and religious hate crime category in Kingston compared to 1,581 in Westminster over the same period.

However, after a dip in all reported hate crime in March and April, largely attributed to lockdown, there was an upward trend in Kingston from May onwards.

This year, National Hate Crime Awareness Week was from October 10 to 17.

The government released a report last week revealing that over 105,000 hate crimes were recorded in the UK, an eight per cent increase compared to the previous year.

The data is collected from police forces across the UK and is broken down into five categories:

  • Race or ethnicity
  • Religion or beliefs
  • Sexual orientation
  • Disability
  • Transgender identity

Within these hate crimes, race and ethnicity was the biggest motivator followed by sexual orientation (homophobic attacks).

Across the UK, racially or religiously aggravated offences in June 2020 were also a third higher than the same time last year. 

Covid-19 related racism

The Kingston Racial Equalities Council (KREC) acknowledged that hate crime towards Chinese and Korean communities also increased since Covid-19 began.

CEO of KREC John Azah said he thought this was further perpetuated by US President Donald Trump when he referred to coronavirus as the “Chinese Virus”.

Azah said: “That’s when the Chinese community, in particular, started to get more attention. 

“Shops were boycotted in central London. Previously they have been invisible in hate crime reporting.”

Black Lives Matter 

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement gained momentum following the murder of George Floyd in May, and demonstrations were held all over the country.

Communities in Kingston also held demonstrations to show their support, which was largely welcomed by residents.

KREC has held a series of panel discussions with prominent members of the Kingston community to discuss racial quality and BLM, and more events are planned, for November and December.

Anti-Muslim hatred

With hate crime on the rise, the State of Hate 2020 report pinned some of the blame on politicians.

The report said: “Anti-Muslim prejudice, demeaning rhetoric on migrants and refugees, and notions of a ‘cultural war’ against social liberalism are increasingly being adopted by political and media figures from an increasingly confident political right.”

As part of National Hate Crime Awareness Week, the Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group made this video to explain how hate crimes affect its victims. (Warning: contains offensive/sensitive material).

Stop the Hate is another organisation working to challenge all forms of hate crime and discrimination, based on any aspect of an individual’s identity.

“Hate Crime is insidious and destructive; having a significantly disproportionate impact on those who are targeted in this way,” said Stop The Hate on their website.

If you have been a victim of hate crime, then you can report it via the National Hate Crime Awareness website or through KREC.

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