'Racist rhetoric' of Boris Johnson & Donald Trump the backdrop to Islington's rise in racist offences, suggests crime chief
PUBLISHED: 17:57 22 July 2019 | UPDATED: 12:22 23 July 2019
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The rhetoric of "dangerous bigot Donald Trump" and "enabler of the far-right" Boris Johnson may have contributed to Islington's rise in racist offences, claims the borough's crime chief.
The latest crime statistics for Islington show there was a 14.4 per cent reduction in knife crime in the year to June, with 91 fewer incidents reducing the total number of cases from 633 to 542 compared with the previous 12 months.
The number of recorded gun crimes also fell by 17.6pc, with 12 fewer offences taking the annual tally to 56 cases over this period. Antisemitic offences decreased by 23.8pc from 21 to 16 cases, homophobic hate crimes fell by 7.6pc from 105 to 97 reports and Islamophobic incidents dropped 39.7pc from 58 to 35 crimes.
But the overall reduction in crime was blighted by an increase 6.1 in racist offences, accounting for a rise of 33 offences taking the 12 month total to 554 reports; while there was also a 7.1pc rise in domestic abuse offences, which increased by 172 crimes to 2,590, and a 4pc jump in domestic abuse detections, which rose from 402 cases to 418 incidents.
On Friday, crime chief Cllr Hull told the Gazette: "In addition to the massive reduction in moped-enabled theft-snatches in Islington the past year, I am pleased that, although criminal hotspots remain in parts of the borough, overall we have driven down serious youth violence, gun crime, knife crime and every form of hate crime except racism.
"That racist hate crime has risen slightly, I fear, is a sad sign of the times, with a globally resurgent far-right, championed by dangerous bigots like Donald Trump and enabled by the likes of Boris Johnson, who will likely be the UK's unelected prime minister by this time next week."
Mr Johnson, who was yesterday expected to be declared winner of the Tory leadership contest and therefore also Prime Minister, has been approached for comment.
The presumed next Prime Minister has a history of controversial comments, including a Telegraph column from 2002 where he referred to African people as "flag waving piccaninnies" with "watermelon smiles".
He also referred to gay men as "tank-topped bumboys"in a 1998 Telegraph column, and used his £275,000-a-year platform at the same paper to say Muslim women in burkhas look "ridiculous", and "like letter boxes" earlier this year.
Last month Mr Johnson said his comments have been "wrenched out of context" and were made in "a wholly satirical way".
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Mr Trump, whose catalogue of allegedly racist remarks is too long to detail here, has also been approached for comment.
The chief exec of Cally charity Solace Women's Aid has linked the rise in domestic violence to austerity.
In the 12 months to June, Islington saw a 7.1 per cent rise in domestic abuse offences, and a 4pc rise in domestic abuse detections - that is, crimes that were in some way dealt with through the criminal justice system.
Chief exec Mary Mason said: "It's really hard because we never 100 per cent know if there's increase in reporting or actual incidents. However, last year in London 29 people were killed [in domestic violence cases], a big increase on the year before.
"We know there is a reduction in public services and the amount of support families are getting. In Islington we have been doing a lot of work with the council to increase awareness [by] working with GPs and homeless services. There is quite a lot of work happening in Islington but we do think there's probably been an increase in the amount of domestic abuse - that's possibly related to austerity and poverty.
"We have not seen an increase in refuges in Islington or London. In London, we know there is a third less spaces than we need, so there is big issue."
She said people living in council flats are unlikely to want to leave them for a refuge or insecure housing, so Solace is working with Safer London charity to encourage local authorities to endorse reciprocal agreements, helping survivors to leave their home and get a new one in a different borough.
Mary added: "One of the problems for us is the funding is year by year and not longer term and some of the projects we're running are underfunded and have too many people using them. There are services and support in place but it's stretched."
Cllr Hull added: "Like the rest of London, Islington has seen a recent rise in reports of domestic violence. Our ongoing efforts to urge victims of abuse to report it may explain some of that rise. Supporting the survivors of violence against women and girls is a priority for the council, the police and our partners such as GPs, hospitals, schools and charities.
"Where I hope we can still do more, despite short-sighted government cuts, is our work with the perpetrators of this abuse to prevent them reoffending."
You can view the crime statistics here.