We Stand Together Against Racism

NationalHCAW has been running National Hate Crime Awareness Week in October every year since 2012.  NationalHCAW aims to “encourage the authorities (Government, Police and Councils), key partners (the anti-hate crime sector and voluntary sector), and communities affected by hate crime to work together to tackle hate crime across the UK“.

For 2022/23, the theme is “We Stand Together Against Racism”. The Candle of Hope and Remembrance was lit in St Paul Cathedral on Sunday 9th October with a special dedication to Chinese, East and Southeast Asian victims of hate crime. The speakers included myself and Claire Waxman OBE (Victims’ Commissioner, London Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime).

As can be seen in the table below, police recorded hate crime has increased year on year.

Hate crime, England and Wales, 2021 to 2022 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

In fact, hate crime has been increasing steadily since 2014.  The 26% increase from 2020/21 to 2021/22 “was the biggest percentage increase in hate crimes since year ending March 2017, when there was a 29 per cent rise”.

We are now in the middle of NationalHCAW week, however, the work does not stop at the end of the week. On the NationalHCAW website there is a page Statements of Support 2022 | 17-24-30 NationalHCAW (wordpress.com). In 2020, Ed Davey gave a Statement of Support.  For 2022, only the Leader Ulster Unionist Party gave a Statement of Support.

(Message to Ed Davey – it is not too late to give a Statement of Support for 2022).

During the 2019 Spring Conference, policy paper 135 “Eradicating Race Inequality” was passed. The policy paper ended with 41 recommendations as statements of intents, as we can’t implement them until we are in power or in a position of influence in a hung parliament. Unfortunately, although hate crime was mentioned in two paragraphs (6.1.7 and 6.2.6) there were no recommendations.

I wonder what progress we have made internally ourselves, in particular with those recommendations that can be applied, even if partially, either to AOs, Local Parties and the various party organs?  Also, in local authorities, where Liberal Democrats are in control?

For example, the recommendation to “Promote ethnic minority role models by funding relevant projects and a wider range of arts programmes, running a national competition to identify ethnic minority people to celebrate with statues and creating a day to celebrate the positive impact of ethnic minority people throughout the UK’s history” can at least be implemented in part.

Another example is the recommendation “Ensure that relevant representative groups of ethnic minority communities are fully consulted as part of Equality Impact Assessments”.  Although the context for this recommendation is “boost participation in the public sphere”, it could be applied to boost participation of ethnic minorities members when developing Party policies.

It is of course likely that we have made progress in some of these areas (that I am not aware of).  If so, it would be useful if people could point out the links to relevant reports in the comment section.  It is also likely some work has been done but not written up.  If so, would it be useful to have an annual ‘audit’ type report from ethnic minorities perspectives within the Party?

Underlying the year on year rise in police recorded hate crime would be a ground swell in racism.  I believe, as a Party committed to equality, we ought to be more upfront in stating our opposition to racism and hate crime.  Also, we should back up our statements with concrete actions, internally within the Party and where Liberal Democrats are in power or in positions of influence.

* Dr Yeow Poon was Chair of Chinese Liberal Democrats and Chair of Policy for West Midlands Lib Dems.

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5 Comments

  • John Lib Dem 12th Oct '22 - 9:09pm

    In contrast, hate crime related prosecutions have actually been trending downward. Those reported hate crime statistics are next to useless – it actually says they are unreliable as a caveat in the report. What constitutes a hate crime is defined entirely by the person reporting it. Just this past week, we’ve seen actual police forces post tweets encouraging people to report hate crime, including as one put it, for “non-criminal acts” and another for hate crimes “I heard about from somebody else” – which is absurd.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 12th Oct '22 - 10:15pm

    Yeow

    Everything here needs a strong yes! As a longstanding activist and writer on these matters I think of this is a fine contribution. This is important effort.

    I have in recent months been developing The Ustinov Prejudice Awareness Forum further,http://www.ustinovforum.com/ having been a contributing member and writer there for some years, am now working for as the Forum In-House writer and organiser. I would very much hope to partner with National HCAW, ongoing in future.

  • Helen Dudden 13th Oct '22 - 12:24pm

    Antisemitism has been on the increase. I have to be careful what I say and write.

  • John, some forces are asking for hate incidents to be reported (i.e. non-criminal) for intelligence purposes. This is perfectly sensible and doesn’t impact the hate crime statistics. These statistics are well-established and represent criminal behaviour on the statutes aggravated by hatred of the characteristic in question.

  • Andy Boddington 14th Oct '22 - 9:10am

    A very interesting article by Patrick Strudwick in the i, himself a victim and a witness to hate crimes.

    https://inews.co.uk/opinion/confidence-police-more-hate-crime-reports-claim-obscures-really-happening-1907343

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