What is Kingston Council doing for National Hate Crime Awareness Week?

Kingston Council has teamed up with the Kingston Race and Equalities Council (KREC) and Kingston Police for National Hate Crime Awareness Week.

They set up an information stall in Memorial Square on Tuesday where the public were able to ask members of the KREC, Kingston Police, and Kingston Neighbourhood rangers about hate crimes.

John Azah, Chief Executive of the KREC, said: “Most people don’t know what to do in the event of a hate crime or where to go. They don’t know what a hate crime is.”

The stall provided resources to not only direct people to emergency services and third-party support groups but provided legal information on what constitutes a hate crime and victim’s rights.

Hate crimes in the UK have fallen for the first time in a decade. Despite this, there has been a recent spike of hate crime reports in London.

Mark Perry has been a Kingston Community Ranger for nine years, a role that includes removing graffiti from council-owned property, which is often derogatory.

“In my nine years of removing graffiti, it’s mostly been antisemitic abuse,” said Perry.

Perry noted that hate crimes, including derogatory graffiti, had been in steady decline until the recent surge of violence between Israel and Palestine.

While 11% of Kingston’s residents consider hate crime to be a problem in their area, Azah stressed that hate crime is a top priority in the Kingston and Richmond Youth Council alongside climate change.

However, Claire Wilding, an officer for Kingston Police, questioned this year’s fall in hate crime reports.

“It’s not necessarily bad when reports go up. Because of the work that the police, the council, schools, churches, and local workshops do in the area, people are more aware of what a hate crime is and are more likely to report it,” said Wilding.

The council’s participation in National Hate Crime Awareness Week is part of Kingston’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy to monitor and respond to hate crime in Kingston.

Other activities throughout the week include protest art workshops at Fusebox and free online active bystander training with the council on Thursday to confront discrimination and hate.

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Reporter and former editor for the Kingston Courier.

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