Town hall and police to target hate crime in Islington after latest figures revealed
16:25 21 September 2016
A report published ahead of a council meeting this week details the latest crime figures and trends in Islington. The Gazette spoke to the borough’s top dogs to find out what is being done to tackle hate crime and moped thefts
A four-year hate crime strategy is set to be signed off by the town hall and police as reports continue to rise across Islington.
New figures reveal a 10 per cent surge across all categories from August last year to July, with Brexit and terrorist attacks partly to blame.
In the week after the EU Referendum, graffiti appeared in Newington Green saying “pack your bags scum” and “f*** the EU” and Clerkenwell Labour ward councillor Raphael Andrews was called a “monkey” and told to “go back to the jungle” in Angel Sainsbury’s.
Det Supt Stuart Ryan told the Gazette the referendum caused retaliatory attacks for three weeks, but the new Safer Islington Partnership policy was a cross-agency commitment to stamping it out altogether.
Over the last 12 months there has been a rise in disability, domestic abuse, faith and homophobic hate crimes, as well as racist and religious attacks.
The only category that showed a reduction was transgender hate crime.
Islington’s community safety chief Cllr Andy Hull, said: “Tackling hate crime is a priority.
“This will raise awareness, increase public confidence and increase the level of support for victims.
“It will do all of this with local communities by its side and with local residents offering their input and holding the partnership to account.”
The same report says Operation Attrition, set up last year to deal with moped thefts, was yielding short-term results but offered no real answers to the problem.
There has been a sharp rise over the last three months with reports of 50 phone snatches a week, but numbers are down over the last year and Det Supt Ryan said his team would not change their tactics.
Long term, however, he said it was about changing attitudes.
“It’s about asking them why they do it,” he said. “My staff are arresting sons of people they were arresting 20 years ago for similar crimes. It’s part of their lifestyle.
“It is the offending of choice because young offenders talk to each other and can discuss how to do it while going through the justice system.”
There’s also publicity work aiming to convince people to not walk around with their phones on display.
“We did a crime prevention thing outside Angel station,” continued Det Supt Ryan.
Gun crime on the rise
Gun crime has almost doubled in Islington over the last year – though that is largely down to the man who shot 18 pedestrians with a paintball gun from his car last month.
Aside from that, police say the increase, from 38 in September 2015 to 73 as of this month, could be due to a rise in gang activity.
Just 10 of the 73 reports have led to prosecution, which at 14pc is down on last year, when 20 of the 38 (52 per cent) went through the court system.
Last month rapper David Robinson, also known as Dawood, was gunned down at a music studio in Sunnyside Road, Hornsey Rise.
A man has been arrested and bailed over the murder.
“One officer saw a woman walking past with her phone out – she was an easy target. He told her she should put it away and then within five seconds she had it out again.
“People almost feel a phone is not theirs because they are so easy to replace.”
The council is ploughing £2million into tackling serious youth crime and a cross-agency gang team, formed in May, has helped curb re-offending by working with the borough’s top 50 high-risk gang members.
Young people’s chief Cllr Joe Caluori said: “Serious youth violence damages the fabric and the future of our society, and tackling it is a high priority for us.”
Meetings have also been held between police and the council to address “over and inappropriate” use of Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBO) for youngsters.
CBOs replaced ASBOs to stop youngsters repeatedly causing trouble, but are believed to be the reason for high re-offending rates.
Now the council must meet with all relevant parties before applying for one.
Talks with magistrates at Highbury Corner are also going on to get tougher sentences for repeat young offenders.
Det Supt Ryan said: “Sometimes us, the council and the Youth Offending Service maybe don’t make our argument clear enough to the courts.”