Prime Minister David Cameron, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe condemn the rise in attack on ethnic communities across Britain….reports Asian Lite News
The number of alleged hate crimes reported to True Vision, a police website, have risen by 57% after the UK voted to leave the European Union.
In a statement at the Parliament, Cameron said racially-motivated attacks in the wake of the vote must be “stamped out”.
Several racial incidents were reported in London, Yorkshire and Wiltshire besides Wales.
“In the past few days, we have seen despicable graffiti smeared on a Polish community centre and heard verbal abuse shouted at individuals who are members of ethnic minorities,” Cameron said. “Let’s remember that these people have come here and made a wonderful contribution to our country. We will not stand for hate crime or these kind of attacks, they must be stamped out.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he had asked Scotland Yard to be “extra vigilant” for any rise in cases and urged Londoners to “stand guard” against hate crime. He joined Met police chief Sir Bernard to warn there would be a “zero tolerance” approach to xenophobic attacks. They said police would be “extra vigilant” after a spate of incidents including racist graffiti being daubed on a Polish community centrein Hammersmith.
The mayor’s office said Mr Khan was “very concerned” about reports of racial tension after the Brexit vote highlighted disagreements about immigration.
London voted strongly for Britain to stay in the EU with around 60 per cent of people voting Remain, and just five of the 33 boroughs wanting to leave. Around 850,000 Londoners were born in other EU countries, with Poles and Irish the biggest groups. South Asian communities including Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans constitute nearly 20 per cent of London’s population.
There are incidents of racial abuse on streets and supermarkets. Some have reported being shouted at to “go home” in the streets, with leaflets pushed through letterboxes and schoolchildren facing hostility.
“Last week the country voted to leave the European Union but London voted to stay. In every corner of our city, including those few areas where the majority voted to leave, people of all nationalities, races and religions live cheek by jowl, in harmony,” the mayor said in a statement.
“I say to them all you are, and you will continue to be, welcome in London and in all our communities. As Mayor, I take seriously my responsibility to defend London’s fantastic mix of diversity and tolerance.
“So it’s really important we stand guard against any rise in hate crimes or abuse by those who might use last week’s referendum as cover to seek to divide us.
“I’ve asked out police to be extra vigilant for any rise in cases of hate crime and I’m calling on all Londoners to pull together and rally behind this great city. While I’m Mayor, addressing hate crimes will be a priority for the Met. We will have a zero tolerance approach to any attempt to hurt and divide our communities.”
However, Mr Khan added that it was important not to “demonise” the 1.5 million Londoners who voted for Brexit.
“While I and millions of others disagreed with their decision, they took it for a variety of reasons and this shouldn’t be used to accuse them of being xenophobic or racist. We must respect their decision and work together now to get the best deal for London,” he added.
Met chief Sir Bernard added: “London is a diverse global city where people from many different backgrounds live and work side-by-side in safety. That hasn’t changed in the past few days but if people do have any concerns they should let the police know. We will investigate vigorously any reports or crime motivated by hatred.”
MPs of all parties used the parliamentary debate on Monday to call for more action against racism in response to the rise in the number of hate crimes.
Labour’s Harriet Harman accused the Brexiteers of fanning racism.
“The leaders of the Brexit campaign have engendered an atmosphere where some people think it is acceptable for racism and xenophobia,” she said.
Brexit Campaigner and potential future prime minister Boris Johnson said he was “appalled” by reports of an increase in crimes of racism.
“Hate crime of any kind is inexcusable and must be met with the full force of the law. Britain is an open, tolerant and friendly society that welcomes people from across the globe,” Mr Johnson said in a statement. “That spirit of openness and diversity must never change and will never change. The actions of a bigoted minority will not be tolerated.”
About 15 per cent of UK’s 65 million population are from the migrant communities.