Figures show surge in hate crime in Waltham Forest at beginning of pandemic

Waltham Forest saw a huge surge in reports of racist hate crimes in the first few months of the pandemic – and they have yet to return to normal levels.

The number of racist hate crimes reported to police every month went from 19 in April last year to 55 in May, rising even higher to 65 in June.

Neighbouring Hackney and Redbridge both saw sharp rises in the summer but returned to pre-pandemic levels in winter, whereas the trend in Waltham Forest seems to be continuing.

In December, the last month for which statistics are available, 50 racist hate crimes were reported, well above the average of 36 a month recorded for the past four years.

Data on the Mayor of London’s website shows people were most likely to be victimised in the south of the borough, particularly Grove Green ward, where 57 crimes were reported.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson declined to provide details of which races were most affected by the increase.

They suggested that a combination of COVID-19 and “the global response to the death of George Floyd” had triggered the rise in reports of racist crimes.

They said: “In London, there was a rise in reports of racially-aggravated hate crime incidents, both on and offline, where certain communities were targeted due to the pandemic.

“This understandably causes great concern in our communities, but we are continuing to dedicate significant resources to investigating cases brought to our attention and encouraging those who may have been a victim to come forward.

“The Met does not tolerate any form of discrimination, and is committed to working with partners, such as MOPAC, TruVision, Tell Mama, Galop and Inclusion London, to robustly tackle hate crime by holding offenders to account, bringing prosecutions where appropriate, and in particular, supporting victims.”

Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter