Londoners are being asked for their views on how victims can be encouraged to report hate crime to the police, how they should be supported and how perpetrators should be dealt with.
The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime has launched a consultation which will inform a new City Hall strategy to tackle hate crime.
The strategy will cover crimes – including physical assaults and verbal abuse – which are motivated by prejudice against the victim’s race, religion, sexual orientation or disability.
Last month the Met’s Deputy Commissioner, Craig Mackey, told the London Assembly that homophobic hate crime was still underreported, making it hard for the Met and partners to fully assess its prevalence and impact.
Over the past year work to encourage more victims to come forward has seen an 8% increase in reports of racist and religious hate crimes and a 7% increase in reports of homophobic offences.
City Hall and the Met stress those figures do not mean the number of incidents is growing and say much of the increase is because people feel more confident about contacting the police.
Stephen Greenhalgh, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, said: “Levels of hate crime are too high and there is significant under-reporting.
“Working with key organisations such as the Metropolitan Police, the Mayor and I are committed to improving the city’s approach to tackling hate crime and we are seeking wider views to help us do this. London is a city where we should be free to live our lives how we choose, but not free to hate.”
Commander Mak Chishty, MPS lead for hate crime, added: “The Metropolitan Police Service is committed to tackling hate crime in all its forms. We have long since recognised the impact of hate crime on communities and the hidden nature of this crime, which remains largely under reported.
“We are always seeking ways to increase reporting and the consultation, launched today, will help us to better understand how we can improve confidence amongst victims and shape the services we provide.”
The consultation questionnaire is available on the MOPAC website.