Nottingham public figures are ‘extremely concerned’ by Home Office data that reveals the number of reported hate crimes in the city.
In Nottingham, 2020-21, the police recorded 1,635 hate crimes with 1,253 being racially motivated which includes attacks on asylum seekers and xenophobic attacks.
That was followed by those motivated by someone’s sexual orientation (203), disability (77), religion (73), and transgender identity (29).
Nottinghamshire Police was one of a minority of forces to record fewer hate crimes in 2020-21 – the figure dropped slightly from 1,683 in 2019-20.
But it was still the second highest number since 2012-13 – the earliest year with available data.
Some are calling for the Government’s Hate Crime Action plan to be revisited. This week is national anti-hate crime week.
Labour MP for Nottingham East, Nadia Whittome said: “These figures are extremely concerning. Our city should be a safe place for everyone, no matter their ethnicity, country of origin or immigration status. These cases need to be dealt with, but we should also be asking how we can prevent hate crime from happening in the first place.
“These events do not occur in isolation. The scapegoating of migrants and refugees has become commonplace amongst politicians and parts of the media, we have a Prime Minister who has referred to Muslim women who wear the niqab as letterboxes and bank robbers, and a Home Secretary who supported people booing the England team when they took the knee for Black Lives Matter. We need accountability for those at the top who continue to spout hate.”
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”.
Across England and Wales, police recorded a record 124,091 such offences in 2020-21.
Labour MP for Nottingham North, Alex Norris said he believes that he only way to tackle such hate is with love.
“We need leaders that seek to unite rather than divide, we need to celebrate the things that make us different and we need to equip the police and courts to ensure there’s justice,” said the MP.
Labour Councillor Neghat Khan, Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods, Safety and Inclusion at Nottingham City Council, added: “Let’s be completely clear – one hate crime is too many. We’re working through a programme of events to raise awareness and confidence to speak out because too much of this is still going unreported.
“This work, alongside the Crime and Drugs Partnerships and police, aims to prevent hate crime, strengthen our response, improve support for victims and understand the best ways to tackle it through our joint strategy.
“Nottinghamshire Police was the first force in the country to recognise misogyny as a hate crime, following a lot of work by Nottingham Women’s Centre who we are proud to support. In our events this week we have seen how being a woman of colour, faith or disability seems to compound exposure to hate crime, and its impact in our communities. We think it’s time to update the national policy and have been actively campaigning for this for a number of years.”
Superintendent Sukesh Verma, Nottinghamshire Police’s strategic hate lead, said the force remains committed to tackling hate incidents in all their forms all year round.
“I want to reassure people that we treat all reports very seriously as well as supporting victims,” said the Superintendent.
“We remain committed to tackling hate incidents in all their forms all year round and I want to reassure people that we treat all reports very seriously as well as supporting victims. Between October 2020 and September 2021 a total of 641 hate incidents were reported in Nottinghamshire compared to 701 reported between October 2019 and September 2020. This amounts to an 8.6 percent reduction in reports.
“We believe hate crime is still being under-reported and we want to encourage more victims to come forward and build up their confidence in the knowledge they will be listened to and supported.
“It’s important people know that no-one should suffer in silence. We offer sensitive and supportive investigations for anyone affected by hate crime which can have a huge personal impact as it targets the individual for who they are and what they believe in.
“We have recently implemented a new hate welfare checks process to raise victims’ satisfaction and address concerns raised by victims.
“This new process has already seen an increase in satisfaction levels since it was implemented as we continue to strive to bring about positive change in our society.”
Nottinghamshire Police is also continuing to work closely with local schools and universities to raise awareness of hate crime and encourage people to report it.
Supt Verma added: “An increasing proportion of hate is now committed online and via social media which can have a hugely negative impact on victims and their mental health.
“I want to reassure people that we will investigate reports of this nature and if an offence has been committed we will do everything we can to bring offenders to justice.”