Met bosses have sought to reassure London’s minority communities that the force takes all hate crime “seriously” after official figures revealed a 60% increase in the number of crimes against Muslims.
According to the Met’s figures there were 816 Islamophobic offences reported in the 12 months to July 2015, up from 478 offences in the period ending July 2014.
Scotland Yard says the increase is partially due to “a growing willingness of victims to report hate crime” as well as the force’s increased awareness and ability to identify such crimes.
However it says some of the increase has been driven by “world events” and by the numbers of visibly Muslim and Jewish people travelling to and from their place of worship on Holy days.
The Met deploys “high visibility reassurance patrols” on such days to help boost confidence which it says “can lead to increased reporting of hate crime”.
Commander Mak Chishty, the force’s lead office on hate crime, said: “We will not tolerate hate crime and take positive action to investigate all allegations, support victims and arrest offenders.
“Victims of hate crime must be assured that they will be taken seriously by the police. We have more than 900 specialist officers across London working in our Community Safety Units who are dedicated to investigating hate crime.”
Jennette Arnold, Labour’s Equalities spokesperson on the London Assembly, described the increase as “a shameful blight on London’s reputation as a welcoming, inclusive and tolerant city.”
She called on Mayor Boris Johnson to recognise the “the importance of local neighbourhood policing” in tackling hate crime and invest in more local officers.
She added: “The Mayor needs to take a lead and make clear that London will take a zero tolerance policy on such horrendous hate crimes.”