Racist and religious hate crime increases in Havering

Gang police were called to Strode Road, Forest Gate, on Wednesday night.

Gang police were called to Strode Road, Forest Gate, on Wednesday night. - Credit: PA WIRE

Racist and religious hate crime has risen by more than 40 per cent in Havering over the past 12 months, according to police figures.

The Metropolitan Police Service’s latest crime statistics for London boroughs reveal a total of 341 cases were dealt with in Havering in the 12 months leading up to June 2016 – 237 incidents were investigated in the same period the previous year.

Havering has the third largest increase of these crimes in London, just behind Wandsworth and Merton.

Supt Cheryl Burden, of Havering’s community safety unit, said despite the “worrying” increase of hate crimes at face value, it is an indication that communities trust police by reporting the crimes.

She said: “Havering police takes all allegations of hate crime very seriously and have increased staff within the community safety unit in order to provide an enhanced service to those who are most vulnerable within the community.”

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The figures show 66 cases were recorded in June and July this year, with religious leaders in the borough telling the Recorder they believed Brexit may have influenced some hate offences.

Rabbi Lee Sunderland, from the Romford and District and Affiliated Synagogue, Eastern Road, Romford, said: “Some of the canvassing made by politicians was based on race and religion and I actually know a lot of people who voted because of this and the belief that these people are taking our jobs and taking our houses.

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“It is people being bullies, making others feel uncomfortable, threatening and being violent.”

Kamal Siddique, chairman of the Romford Mosque, Lessington Avenue, Romford, said: “Before the Romford Mosque opened there was very little for the minorities in Havering.

“We have been on the outside of the community – I have lived in this borough for a long time and this has been my experience.

“Politicians have been promoting extremism and Islamophobia for years and Brexit has made it worse.”

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