Hate crime is Real Crime – open letter to Commissioner Cressida Dick
25 signatories added to open letter asking Commissioner Cressida Dick to publically recommit to getting justice for victims of hate crime.
In the last three months Inclusion London, who support 70 Deaf & Disabled People’s Organisations across London, have been gaining tremendous support from other organisations to sign their open letter to Commissioner Cressida Dick. These include GALOP, the Metropolitan Police Service Disability Independent Advisory Group and the founder of National Hate Crime Awareness Week. The letter challenges comments reported in the press on 2 November 2018[i] that Commissioner Cressida Dick, fully supported Chief Constable Sara Thornton’s view that the police should, “…bear down on violence before we make more records of incidents that are not crimes.” The open letter asks Commissioner Dick to, “… reaffirm your commitment to tackle hate crime across London, whatever form it takes, and to support your officers to ensure effective recording and robust investigations of hate crime as well as appropriate responses to those affected by hate crime.”
Hate Crime often involves physical and sexual assaults, violence, fraud, deprivation of liberty and homicide, as well as verbal insults. These are all “real crimes” that need to be investigated thoroughly so victims get justice.
The full open letter is reprinted below.
This open letter is part of ongoing work by Inclusion London to raise awareness of Hate Crime against Disabled people and the importance of having Deaf & Disabled People’s Organisations who can offer support to Disabled victims of hate crime. They have set up a London Deaf & Disabled People’s Organisation Hate Crime Partnership to coordinate work on hate crime by organisations led by Disabled people.
We are pleased to work with GALOP on campaigning for parity in the law for all strands of hate crime as this will help alleviate the confusion experienced by victims and the justice system when dealing with hate crime cases.
Most organisations involved in hate crime work agree that the law needs to be reformed. There is currently a review being conducted by the Law Commission that Inclusion London hope will result in all hate crimes being treated equally in the eyes of the law.
It is important to publically challenge reports in the press that diminish the seriousness of hate crimes, so victims feel confident to report.
Louise Holden, Hate Crime Project Manager at Inclusion London says, “Hate Crimes are not separate from other types of crime. They can often start off as minor incidents but can quickly escalate to serious criminal offences. The uplift in sentencing can only be considered if there is enough evidence gathered at start of an investigation.”
[i] “Met chief Cressida Dick backs senior police officer Sara Thornton on tackling burglars and violence ahead of hate crimes” – https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/met-police-chief-cressida-dick-backs-top-cop-sara-thornton-on-tackling-burglars-and-violence-not-a3978526.html
Open letter to Commissioner Cressida Dick
To Commissioner Cressida Dick
On 2 November 2018 you were quoted in the Evening Standard as saying that, “There’s never been a fag paper between us on this…I’m with Sara.” This was referring to Chief Constable Sara Thornton when she said that the Met. Police should, “…bear down on violence before we make more records of incidents that are not crimes.” This was relating to the debate on recording and investigating misogyny and misandry as hate crimes.
Whilst we appreciate the strain on police resources, and support calls for additional investment in policing, we are concerned that these remarks could be misconstrued. Already one commentator has spoken about ‘so called hate crime’. Indeed, many people have the impression that hate crime is not “real crime” and involves “name calling” and “minor incidents”. The reality is hate crime can be physical and sexual assaults, violence, fraud, deprivation of liberty and homicide, as well as verbal insults. These are all “real crimes” that need to be investigated thoroughly.
Hate crime may start with ‘minor incidents’ but can quickly escalate into serious incidents and ultimately murder. Indeed, the report, “Getting Away with Murder” provides graphic details of how a Disabled person can be initially targeted to be taken advantage of, which then changes into something very sinister and serious. It is a crime motivated by hostility towards the very identity of the victim and as such has a disproportionate impact on the victim and on the wider community, which also impacts on social cohesion. At a time when hate crime reports are rising and extremist groups are promoting hate, we the undersigned, are working together to encourage victims to feel confident to come toward; so the MPS needs to be focusing both on preventing escalation and on taking robust action against perpetrators.
The Law Commission Report and subsequent review on hate crime is an opportunity to improve victims experience of justice, not create more work for over-stretched services.
We ask you to reaffirm your commitment to tackle hate crime across London, whatever form it takes, and to support your officers to ensure effective recording and robust investigations of hate crime as well as appropriate responses to those affected by hate crime.
We ask you to ensure that all hate crime is treated with the seriousness and thoroughness it deserves. We support any calls for additional resources to tackle serious crime, which includes hate crime.
Signed by: –
- Louise Holden, Inclusion London
- David Strong, Disability Advice Service Lambeth
- Mahmuda Murshed and Michelle Burke, People Choice Self Advocacy, Inclusion Barnet
- Richard Eason, Secretary, Richmond upon Thames LGBT Forum
- Gemma Egan-Perkins, The Traveller Movement
- Patricia Stapleton, The Traveller Movement
- Nigel Turner, Chair, Redbridge Equalities and Community Council
- Paul Leslie, Rights and Equalities in Newham (REIN)
- Alan Anstead, UK Race and Europe Network
- Wendy Haslam, REAL
- Roisin Rodney, SafetyNet-PeopleFirst
- Mark Healey, founder of 17-24-30 and National Hate Crime Awareness Week
- Andrew Lee, People First (Self Advocacy)
- Stewart Tight, Bromley Experts by Experience CIC
- Nik Noone, Chief Executive, Galop
- Anne Novis, Chair of Inclusion London and Chair of Metropolitan Police Service Disability Independent Advisory Group
- Will Davies, Lewisham Speaking Up
- Liane Burn, Enfield Disability Action
- Nigel Long, Harrow Association of Disabled People
- Caroline Collier, Inclusion Barnet
- Jon Abrams, One Place East
- Claire Cassidy, Merton Centre for Independent Living
- Ruth Bashall, Stay Safe East
- Edmund Akeju, West London Equality Centre
Press Release 30 January 2019 – Open Letter to Cressida Dick – word document