Future Challenges for policing in London (Supplementary) [7]

Session date: 
November 1, 2018
Question By: 
Navin Shah
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Navin Shah AM:  My question is to the Mayor.  It is about hate crime issues.  How effectively are you tackling hate crime and what support are you providing to victims and wider communities so that they have reassurance as well as the confidence to report such incidents?

Answer

Answer for Future Challenges for policing in London (Supplementary) [7]

Answer for Future Challenges for policing in London (Supplementary) [7]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Can I just first say this?  It is worth restating the impact that hate crime can have in relation to the ripples of fear that people will feel when they hear about hate crime.  I have spent some time this week speaking to Jewish Londoners.  I was at the Jewish Community Centre London (JW3) this week with [Assistant Commissioner] Sir Steve House and many others.  The murders in a synagogue in Pittsburgh have had a huge impact on the community here in London and across our country, an example of the consequences of those ripples of fear that I talked about.  That is why it is really important for us to appreciate the impact this has in relation to the communities that are affected: the Jewish community, the Muslim community, hate crime to do with race, disability, sexual orientation and on and on.  It is really important that we understand in a diverse city like London, unfortunately, one of the downsides is that hate crime can occur.

 

As part of the work that Community Safety Units do, they also do really invaluable work reassuring communities about hate crime and how to report it.  One of the good pieces of work we have done over the last period is the Online Hate Crime Hub.  I know this stuff takes place virtually on the internet and social media.  It is really important we tackle that and also work with the social media companies.  Why are the social media companies not being more proactive and investing in artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to reduce human being time, reduce taxpayer time and get the private sector social media companies doing far more?

 

It is really important we give Londoners the confidence to report circumstances when they have been the victims of hate crime.

 

Navin Shah AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.  To the Commissioner, in terms of what happens on the ground, in my constituency in Brent in September [2018] we had an incident at Al-Hussaini Mosque where a car was driven into the mosque.  Then we had two incidents at a local temple in Harrow, where banners were burnt.

 

My question is: how effectively are you able to deal with such incidents whereby not only individuals but organisations and wider communities require reassurance as well as ongoing support?  Do you have resources to provide that effectively or are you really stretching and that is showing in the delivery of a service which is so critical for the community at large?

 

Cressida Dick CBE QPM (Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis):  This does remain, for all the reasons that you have both said, a very high priority area for us.  On an average day in London, we would expect to see about 50 or 60 hate crime offences reported to us.  The vast majority of those are either online and/or what you might call the less serious end of the spectrum.  It is relatively rare for us to have what I would think of as a very serious offence.  However, all of them are unpleasant for the person on the receiving end of them.

 

We are responding well to the type of incident that you have talked about and I must say that both of those were very serious and nasty and in quick succession in your borough and unusual in that way.  You will know that we have worked closely with the affected institutions and we were able to put on extra patrols and were able to help with crime prevention advice and were able to be there, just as after the Pittsburgh attack - and I indeed, as it happens, met with the Chief Rabbi yesterday morning - we were very quick to respond with our reassurance messaging and our conversations with members of the community and the wider community about the impact, how people are feeling, where they will be, where we need to be and getting extra patrols out there.

 

We do not bring as high a number of people to justice, again, as I would like for these crimes, but we do have, as you know, well-trained and dedicated staff.  We have Hate Crime Liaison Officers in every borough and within our Community Safety Units people who are very skilled at investigating.  We have better and better third-party reporting mechanisms and we are getting to hear about more and more.

 

It remains a priority.  Yes, we are stretched across a lot of areas, but it is something we take very seriously.  It is horrid to be on the receiving end of it.  Equally important is the strategic impact if there is either a very serious incident or repeated incidents.  It can cause very strong community tensions quite quickly, even in our great, diverse and mostly very much at ease with itself city.