Homophobic offences rising across some South West London boroughs


Lambeth has the highest number of reported homophobic hate crimes in the UK.


By Hannah Pupkewitz

Homophobic hate crimes may be on the decrease in South West London, but Lambeth and Merton’s LGBT community are still suffering.

Reports of homophobic offences in Merton have risen by 85.7% since August 2012.

And according to the Metropolitan Police’s most recent statistics, Lambeth has the highest number of reported homophobic hate crimes in the UK.

Jack Hopkins, Lambeth cabinet member for Safer and Stronger Neighbourhoods, said Lambeth Council is working on challenging homophobic attitudes and tackling local tensions.

“One of the best ways of preventing hate crime is to create a climate where these types of crimes are simply not tolerated,’’ said Councillor Hopkins.

‘’We are working closely with the police to raise awareness of what hate crime is, who it affects and what can be done to stop it.”

The 2013 British Crime Survey found that more than half of hate crimes are not reported and that 1 in 8 LGB people experienced homophobic crime each year.

Nick Antjoule, a spokesperson for Galop, London’s leading anti-LGBT hate crime charity, said: ‘‘People who report hate crimes are sadly often unsatisfied by the response.’’

He added: ‘‘Increased reports in a specific borough like Merton may not be due to a rise in homophobic hate crime but due to an increase in LGBT confidence with the way that borough’s police handle hate crime.’’

Galop’s 2013 Hate Crime Report labelled police performance surrounding homophobic incidents in Merton as poor.

According to the report fewer than 1 in 2 recorded homophobic crimes have a successful outcome in the UK and only 1 in 7 recorded homophobic crimes go to court.

Drew Harris, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ chief for hate crime spoke earlier this year at a national hate crime conference saying: ‘‘Hate crime has no place in a modern society.’’

He added: ‘‘One of our greatest challenges is to reduce the under-reporting of hate crime and to increase the confidence of victims and witnesses to come forward.’’

The Metropolitan Police User Satisfaction Survey revealed that 1 in 4 people are dissatisfied with the police’s response to their homophobia report compared to 1 in 6 for other crimes.

Over 5000 anti-LGBT hate crimes are recorded each year by UK police.

Photo courtesy of fortinbras, with thanks.

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