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HATE crime is increasing across the capital, the Metropolitan Police Service has said, with a particularly ‘sharp increase’ in online offences like sending malicious communications.
The Met said today that it was working with online platforms to ‘identify offensive content and the people who post it’, promising a ‘zero tolerance’ approach.
The rise in hate crimes has been ‘specifically’ linked to the 2016 EU referendum, a statement from the Met said, and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime has promised extra funding to tackle the growing problem.
Superintendent Waheed Khan, the Met’s lead officer for hate crime, said victims should come forward and promised offences would be properly investigated.
He said: “It can be deeply upsetting and humiliating for the victim and sometimes victims don’t believe they’ll be taken seriously. However, I would like to remind victims that we take a zero tolerance approach and that every report will be taken seriously.”
Mr Khan said hate crime was leaving ‘many’ people feeling ‘marginalised, or worse, intimidated to go about their daily lives due to their race, faith, sexual orientation, gender or disability’.
Police in London are currently holding a ‘week of action’ to mark National Hate Crime Awareness Week.
Superintendent Khan said: “It aims to bring people together to stand in solidarity with those affected by hate crime, support them and raise awareness – as well as prevent hate crime with our communities across London and challenge hate crime in all its forms.
“Hate crime incidents may involve a physical attack, damage to property, bullying, harassment, verbal abuse, insults or online abuse using social media – and it is a scourge on our communities.
“Hate crime affects people from all walks of life and impacts on communities across London. The Met does not tolerate any form of discrimination and is committed to working with partners to robustly tackle hate crime by holding offenders to account, bringing prosecutions where appropriate and, in particular, supporting victims.
“We would urge hate crime victims who have not spoken to the police to come forward and tell us about incidents so they can be fully investigated.”
*The Met asked anybody who had suffered a hate crime to report it to police by dialling 101 or to report it anonymously to crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.