Brent - No place for hate - statement by Cllr Tom Miller
Since Brexit took place in 2016, there has been a rise in the number of hate crimes reported across London. Brent is a borough which is lucky to have a large degree of cohesion in a community which is very diverse and involves a huge number of stories from every corner of the globe.
This does not mean that hate crime is not still a massive problem. Bigotry and prejudice are massive problems on a national level, but as a BBC documentary made clear this week in advance of new figures, hate crime spiked heavily after the Brexit vote, and has been running at an elevated level ever since. Even before the vote, we had significant worries about hate crime being under-reported, and people feeling like reporting hate crime does not make a difference. In Brent we’re determined to tackle this issue head on.
On 18 September 2017, Brent Council passed a motion which condemned hate crime in all its forms and as Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities, I strongly endorse this motion. Brent is one of the most diverse boroughs in the UK where community cohesion is promoted and hate crime is not tolerated. For us, the values of mutual tolerance and respect are fundamental to living in and getting on in the area. We also feel that these are some of the most key aspects of modern British identity, and something that people who come here can unite around, whatever their own background.
It has been important to set the right tone on the issue, but this means nothing if it is not matched by action.
So far, we have undertaken the following steps in Brent to curb hate crime and empower individuals to feel safe in reporting it. These include:
- Widened the remit of the Council’s Community Support Officer to include Hate Crime;
- Taken steps to tackle disability hate crime on buses;
- Responded to MENCAP’s request for a dedicated Disability Link Officer;
- Responded to MOSAIC LGBT Youth Centre’s request for a dedicated LGBT Police Officer
- Commissioned a Brent specific manual on tackling Hate Crime
- Developed a dedicated online portal to learn and report different types of hate crime
In 2017 we also be supported Hate Crime Awareness Week (14 – 21 October) by holding a number of awareness raising events.
I hope residents can see that we are backing up our words and pledges with actions and keeping the promises we make. Brent is no place for hate and we want to ensure that any resident who is a victim of hate crime feels comfortable enough to report it.
Cllr Tom Miller – Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities
What is a hate incident and crime?
Hate incidents and crimes are motivated wholly or partly by a perpetrator’s prejudice, hostility or intolerance against an identifiable group of people. A person, group of people or property may be targeted because of one or more of the following perceived/actual identities, known as monitored strands:
- race or ethnicity
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
- transgender identity
Brent hate crime manual
Brent has commissioned a hate crime manual to help understand hate crime and how you can help to stop it.
Is hate crime anti-social behaviour (ASB)?
Anti-social behaviour (ASB) is any behaviour that causes, or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to other people living in your neighbourhood. It can mean different things to different people and can range from playing your music too loud, threatening or swearing at neighbours to criminal damage, assault, racist, homophobic abuse. ASB can include anything which people feel affects their quality of life.
Hate incidents happen because of hostility or prejudice based on the identified monitored strands. The police and housing providers should treat them as hate incidents not as anti-social behaviour. So acts of ASB that are motivated by hostility and prejudice should be recognised as hate incidents.
What is hostility and prejudice?
The law requires that a hate crime must be demonstrated or motivated (wholly or partially) by hostility and prejudice. But hate crime is not a law in itself and hostility and prejudice are not defined. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) offers the following advice:
“In the absence of a precise legal definition of hostility, consideration should be given to ordinary dictionary definitions, which include ill-will, ill-feeling, spite, contempt, prejudice, unfriendliness, antagonism, resentment, and dislike.”
Please see our manual on ‘Responding to Hate Crime: Advice and Support Services’ for types of hate incidents and crime.
The digital world has changed the nature and scope of hate crime. It is part of our everyday lives and we now all live in a digital world where the offline and online space come together. There is a pressing need to develop processes to support victims of cyber-hate crime.
The highest percentage of hate targets online focus on racial identity. However, research has also shown that women were disproportionately targeted in Muslim hate crime online. Often the impact of cyber-hate/bullying is that:
- The consequences are experienced in the offline world;
- People change their behaviours;
- Are afraid to go out and stop going online;
- Community tensions may increase because of internet content.
Online hate messages can be sent anonymously or by using a false identity, making it difficult to identify the offender. The global nature of the internet means that many crimes are found to have occurred in other force areas or even countries.
What factors influence our response to you?
- Hate crime is dis-empowering
- It is not your fault
- You are not to blame
- Anyone can be a victim
- Anyone can report
- Every piece of information you give us helps provide a picture of what is happening and how we can help you and prevent further hate crime
What the ASB team can do
If you are a tenant of Brent Council or other housing provider or a private resident impacted by hate crime or anti-social behaviour (ASB) you can complain and it will be investigated. Useful information you will be asked to provide will include:
- Who is responsible – name, age, address, description
- What happened
- Where it happened
- When it happened – date and time
- How it affected you – was it targeted at you or does it affect the whole community?
What will happen with your complaint?
There are a variety of ways your complaint will be dealt with. These might include:
- A letter of warning to the perpetrators, or the perpetrator’s landlord
- A referral to specific agencies for support or further action
- Requesting patrols by the local Safer Neighbourhood Team or other police teams
- Multi-agency support meetings
Contact: 020 8937 1058 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
What can you do?
If you believe you have suffered a hate incident or crime, or witnessed an incident in any location:
- You should tell someone immediately, for example, the police, a friend, family member, colleague, teacher, doctor, shop manager.
- Write down everything that has happened, including times and dates of incidents and why you feel you were being targeted
- Make a note of what the perpetrator looked like, if possible.
- Take the names and addresses of any witnesses
- You can report to the police or another service, like Victim Support and your perception of the event will be believed.
- Another person can report on your behalf.
- You do not have to provide evidence of the motivation or hostility for an incident or crime to be recorded as a hate incident or crime.
The police will investigate to establish the facts. Brent Council will investigate any reports of hate crime involving their tenants.
What you can do about online hate material
www.Report-it-org.uk offer the following advice. Most hateful or violent website content is not illegal but you can still take the steps below to have it removed if it upsets, scares or offends you.
Option One - Report it to the website administrator
- Most websites have rules known as ‘acceptable use policies’ that set out what cannot be put on their website. Most do not allow comments, videos and photo that offend or hurt people.
- Popular websites such as Facebook, YouTube or BBC News have simple ways for you to complain about a page or video.
- If what you’ve seen is on a site with a good complaints system, you should report it to the website’s owners. Look out for their ‘contact us’ page, which should be clearly linked.
- Others will have a ‘report this page’ button that you can click.
Option Two - Report it to the hosting company
- If the website itself is hateful or supports violence then let the website’s hosting company know.
- Hosting companies provide a place where the website sits, and often have rules about what they are willing to host. Let the hosting company know they are hosting a website that breaks their rules, and ask them to stop.
- You can find out which company hosts a website by entering their web address on the ‘Who is hosting this?’ website.
- You can also contact your own internet supplier to get more information.
- Further support can be found in the ‘Responding to Hate Crime: Advice and Support Services’ manual
Should I report hate crime
|Reasons for not reporting
||Ask yourself the following
||What action can you take
- Incident was seen as too trivial
- It happens too often to report
- Have you or others been affected by these incidents? Are you afraid?
- Do you think it will happen again
- Will you be returning to the place where these incidents occurred
- Has there been any physical harm or property damage.
- Tell someone you trust. Ask them what they would do
- Contact a support service
- Report it to the police who will record your complaint and investigate
- Did not know it was a hate crime
- What is a hate crime
- Unsure who to tell and where to report
- Do you believe you have been targeted because of your disability, race, religion, sexual orientation and transgender.
- Am I in immediate danger
- Has the danger passed
- Would it help me to talk to someone
- Check section 1 of this document or www.report-it.org.uk to find out what a hate crime is and who it affects
- Ring the police for assistance
- Contact a support service for reassurance
- Not being believed
- Not being taken seriously
- Being blamed
- No action will be taken if I report
- Previous poor experiences
- Lack of confidence in reporting agencies
- Do you believe you have been deliberately targeted
- Did anyone else see what happened?
- Know that what has happened is not your fault
- What rights do I have as a victim?
- What do I think should happen?
- What do I know about the services I can go to for help
- Know what your rights are
- Say you believe it is a hate incident
- Take someone, especially any witnesses, with you to report
- Speak to an advocate who support you
- Ask what will happen from your complaint and when you will know the outcome
- Find out the minimum services you have a right to receive from the police and other services
- Ask for records of any action points agreed with a reporting service
- Fear of retaliation
- Concerns about confidentiality
- My Identity being disclosed or not taken seriously
- Am I living in fear?
- Are other people, including children suffering
- Am I changing my day to day behaviours and routines?
- Am I isolated
- Do I need protection and security?
- Talk to the police and/or a helpline service
- Find out what risk assessment and measures will be taken to protect you
- Ask about confidentiality and what information will be disclosed, when and to whom. Will they need your permission to disclose?
- Tell them how you want to be kept in touch
- Keep a diary of all threats and further incidents
- Ask about their approach to witness intimidation
- Language and communication needs
- Go with a supportive person to any meeting
- Ask if they have access to an interpreting service
- What information is available in different languages
What the police can do
A needs assessment to identify any support needs required;
- Provide a written acknowledgement that you have reported a crime, including the basic details of the offence;
- Offer an enhanced service if you are a victim of serious crime, a persistently targeted victim or a vulnerable or intimidated victim;
- Signpost or refer to Victim Support, for support and advice, within two days of reporting;
- Investigate the complaint;
- Advise you when an investigation into your complaint has been concluded with no person being charged and the reasons explained to you.
- Have an opportunity to seek justice.
A client-centred response
If you report hate crime to any service they will:
- Believe what they are being told, not question your motive for reporting or make you prove that it is a hate crime;
- Recognise and fact-find that those affected by hate crime may need immediate support, for example, medical treatment;
- Recognise the risk of repeat victimisation and offer options that reduce this risk, through for example, emergency accommodation, increased security around the property, a security presence;
- Listen and give you time to tell what has happened, and describe what your needs may be;
- Respond to any communication, access, support needs you may have;
- Ask if you want a friend, relative or advocate to be with you at an interview;
- Acknowledge what you want from the investigative and support process;
- Recognise that hate crime dis-empowers and to offer responses that empower;
- Keep you informed of what is happening.
You can report a hate crime whether you have been a victim, a witness, or you are reporting on behalf of someone else:
Take at look at a snapshot of what Brent people thought of hate crime ahead of an event held in July 2016.