‘Bigoted few’ behind rise in hate crime across Suffolk since lockdown

PUBLISHED: 05:30 14 October 2020 | UPDATED: 15:59 14 October 2020

Superintendent Kerry Cutler  Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Superintendent Kerry Cutler Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Rachel Edge

Police have denounced the actions of a ‘bigoted few’ responsible for a recent rise in hate crime across Suffolk.

In the six months to the end of September, police recorded 559 crimes a 31% increase on the previous six months and a 16% rise on the same period of 2019.

Police said most related to racially motivated hate crime – and that many incidents were still going unreported.

The rise follows a 9% annual fall in offences – from 951 to 866 in the year ending March 2020.

Nationally, the number of racially or religiously aggravated offences in June 2020 was a third higher (34%) than in June 2019.

The Home Office said increases were likely related to far-right counter-protests to the Black Lives Matter movement.

It came as Victim Support reported a 62% increase in referrals – as the charity said intimidating behaviour from neighbours had fuelled an “extremely concerning” rise in victims needing support between July and August.

The five strands of hate crime are race or ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability and gender identity.

Any offence with a xenophobic element, such as graffiti targeting certain nationalities, can also be recorded as race hate crimes.

A number of local initiatives are taking place for National Hate Crime Awareness Week, including Suffolk UK Youth Parliament and Ipswich Youth Council releasing videos highlighting young people’s experience of hate crime.

Superintendent Kerry Cutler, hate crime lead at Suffolk police, said: “A robust response to hate crime helps build confidence within communities that they have the support of Police and wider society, so that the actions of a bigoted few should not be allowed to interfere with their right to share in our open, diverse community.”

Police Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore added: “Everyone has a right to live safely in Suffolk without the fear of prejudice or discrimination.

“It goes without saying that we should treat each other in a respectful way, but if that’s not the case, we need to support victims of discrimination and ensure they have the confidence to report.”

Norfolk & Suffolk Victim Care offers free and confidential support on 0300 303 3706.

Hate crime can be reported to police online, by calling 101, or on 999 if a crime is in progress.

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