Hate Crime

MQT on 2017-11-16
Session date: 
November 16, 2017
Question By: 
Peter Whittle
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


I note the article in The Guardian on 16 October 2017, which stated: 'The Metropolitan Police are to stop investigating many lower level crimes as a result of spending cuts, a senior police officer has said. On Monday, it was reported that the UK's largest force would no longer look into many reports of crimes, including burglaries, thefts and assaults, where there was judged to be little prospect of identifying a suspect. The plan has been denounced as a "green light to thieve" but the Metropolitan police said it needed to balance the books.' However, on 9 October, I saw a Metropolitan Police Tweet which stated: 'We have 900+ specialist officers across London dedicated to investigating all hate crime.' However, I am not convinced that London's law-abiding populace would endorse the Metropolitan Police's prioritisation of hate crime over burglary, theft and assault. Will the Mayor re-examine the Met's priorities to ensure that it makes the best use of all the resources at its disposal to tackle crime?


Answer for Hate Crime

Answer for Hate Crime

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Thank you for your question.  It would be disappointing to say the least if a London Assembly Member was underplaying the seriousness of hate crime in LondonThe priorities in the Police and Crime Plan were chosen because they are the issues that Londoners told us are important to them, but I agree that the police are in a precarious position.  The Government is threatening a further £400 million reduction to the MPS's budget on top of a huge £600 million already saved.  It is important to understand that the MPS will, as they always have, prioritise resources and responses based on a thorough assessment of the threat, risk and harm to the victim and the wider community.  The number of officers you mentioned are Community Safety Officers and every London borough has a Community Safety Unit.  These officers have responsibility for investigating domestic abuse, serious sexual offences, maintaining a register of missing persons, forced marriage, hate crime and other forms of high risk crime.  It is absolutely right that we prioritise and put appropriate resources in to those cases where people are vulnerable or at significant risk and give the public the confidence the police are taking these crimes serious.  We are developing the Police and Crime Plan.  We consulted extensively with partners, stakeholders and Londoners to determine what our policing priorities should be and 85% of those who responded said that our priorities are absolutely right.  Hate crime is an attack on somebody simply because of who they are, whether it is targeted at the person's disability, skin colour, sexual orientation or religion.  It is a deeply personal attack.  Hate crimes are often repeated and escalate in severity.  We have seen some horrific cases in London and the UK in recent years and it is still rising.



Peter Whittle AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.  Can you just clarify one thing?  There was a statement put out by the MPS in which it said that 900 specialist members of staff dedicate to hate crime and domestic abuse but then I read a tweet saying it was 900 purely for hate crime.  Do you know which it is?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  It is the former.  Basically the 900 police officers are at the Community Safety Unit that I have just referred to and I have set out five examples of the stuff they do.  Hate crime is one of the things that they deal with and have responsibility for. 




Peter Whittle AM:  I see.  Because they are quite different things.  Out of that 900 how many would be devoted to hate crime?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  No, a police officer deals with more than one crime at a time.  Across London 900 officers in Community Safety Units and they cover a whole range of offences, including hate crimes.




Peter Whittle AM:  Okay.  Out of that 900 is there a proportion that would be part of the online hate crime hub that you created?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  No, that is a separate unit.  I think there are five in the online hate crime.  I am not sure of the exact, but I think there is five. 




Peter Whittle AM:  Five?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I think so, yes.




Peter Whittle AM:  Five doing that.  I tried at the recent Plenary with the Commissioner {Cressida Dick CBE QPM, MPS Commissioner] to get some sort of breakdown of the figures of hate crime.  It is proving quite difficult, at least it is taking a long time.  Do you have those sorts of figures at your disposal that I could have that basically which describe how much is online, how much is comment, how much is physical attack, what have you?  It is proving very difficult to get that.




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Can I undertake, Chair, to go away and bring back to Assembly Member Whittle, I am happy to copy in others, what the figures are for hate crime.  Happy to do that.  I see nodding heads so I will circulate it to the entire Assembly.




Peter Whittle AM:  Okay, thank you.  I was interested to hear that you mentioned that it was early days as you put it but you were working on misogyny becoming a hate crime --




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  That is not what I said, to be fair, Chair.




Peter Whittle AM:  I must have misheard because I thought that is exactly what you said.




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Let me show you exactly what I said which is, Nottingham and a number of other police forces have started looking in to this area and MOPAC will keep an eye on what the other forces are doing.




Peter Whittle AM:  Okay.  Given the fact that many of us do not know how these figures break down can you not see how many Londoners, actually what the MPS describes as being ‘low-level’ crime, ie burglaries and robberies, I am sure for many people those are not low-level crimes.  Most of them go - nine out of ten burglaries - go undetected, can you not see how, actually, this sends out a very dangerous message that somehow or other these things are going to be discarded in favour of crimes which actually require little evidence and are purely on the perception of the supposed victim?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Can I ask you a question in this way?




Peter Whittle AM:  No, it is Mayor’s Question TimeIt is not Assembly Members’ Question TimeCan I ask you to answer my question?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Let me answer your question.




Peter Whittle AM:  Fine.




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I will give you an example of a hate crime.  In April this year a teenager was beaten up by a group of 30 people and left for dead in Croydon.  Attacked because he was a refugee fleeing violence elsewhere.  That is a hate crime.




Peter Whittle AM:  Yes, Mr Mayor, I am not doubting for a moment that there is hate crime but the fact is I am doubting, or at least I have a healthy scepticism about, is the extent to which things can be categorised as hate crimes.  When you have 900 specialists -- that is why I want to know about the breakdown of what these hate crimes are.  Does that include people making comments or insults to each other online?  This is very, very important, particularly if you have got 900 specialist people working on it at a time when resources are shockingly cut.




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I think we have established during the course of this exchange we have not got the figures that is alluded to by Assembly Member doing just hate crime.




Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  Okay.  I have just allowed that to finish because of the importance of the subject but you are out of time, Assembly Member Whittle.