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Hate crimes against Islington’s disabled, LGBTQ+ and Jewish communities surge in past year

PUBLISHED: 16:22 29 October 2018 | UPDATED: 17:15 29 October 2018

Islington's crime chief speaking at Hate Crime event at FP Mosque last year. Picture: Polly Hancock

Islington's crime chief speaking at Hate Crime event at FP Mosque last year. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

Hate crimes against Islington’s disabled, LGBTQ+ and Jewish communities surged in the past 12 months – but Islamaphobic incidents have nearly halved.

Rabbi Mendy Korer said Rabbi Mendy Korer said "anti-semitism is something we always need to keep a close eye on". Picture: John M Fulton

New figures compare the crime rate from September 2017 up to this month with the previous year.

But the council’s crime chief, Cllr Andy Hull (Highbury, West) says the rise in some hate crimes could be connected to the Safer Islington Partnership’s “No Place for Hate” campaign.

This is a four-year anti-hate crime strategy encouraging communities to report abuse and across all areas there has been 20 fewer incidents.

But Islington had the highest number of disability hate crime reports across the whole of London in the year up to October, with 28. That’s a 64.7 per cent increase on the 17 the previous year.

“This doesn’t surprise me at all,” said Andy Greene, manager of Disability Action Islington. “Hate crime is a real and escalating issue for many local residents and its rising year-on-year.

“I think it’s indicative of the climate disabled people are finding themselves in – it’s years of this narrative being spun that disable people broke the economy.

“This narrative is being used to crowbar through welfare cuts and public cuts.

“Disabled people experience othering and discrimination on a weekly basis and the average person in the street feels more entitled to accost disabled people and demand some sort of validation. We are living in a climate of fear and isolation.”

Islington also saw a 90pc spike in transphobic hate offences, from 10 to 19 – the second highest figure in London. There was also a 22.7pc increase in homophobic crimes, with an additional 20 cases from 88 to 108.

The Gazette understands most of the borough’s transphobic offences are harassment, either online or verbal.

There was also a 76.9pc increase in anti-Semitic offences, from 13 to 23.

Rabbi Mendy Korer, of Chabad Islington, said: “As we see from this data and from this past weekend in Pittsburgh, anti-Semitism is something we always need to keep a close eye on.

“We work closely with Islington Council, Islington Police and the Islington Hate Crime Forum in order to insure that all communities are together in tackling hate crime and that we all feel safe and proud of our identities.”

Reported Islamophobic hate crimes fell dramatically, with 38 fewer incidents – a reduction of 46.9pc.

It has been suggested this is down to the relative lack of terrorist attacks in the UK in the past 12 months compared to the year before, as data shows hate crimes spike after such tragedies.

Islington’s crime chief Cllr Andy Hull told the Gazette: “Tackling hate crime is one of five priorities for the Safer Islington Partnership.

“We have made a sustained, collective effort to address it in the borough, so we are pleased to see the overall level of hate crime reduce locally over the past year.

“Tackling each and every form of crime, however, is only made harder by short-sighted central government cuts which have meant that Islington alone has lost 300 police officers since 2010.”

Have you been the victim of hate crime in Islington? Contact Lucas at the newsdesk on 020 7433 0121 or email lucas.cumiskey@archant.co.uk

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