Minorities Face 36 Race Crimes a Day; by Lech Mintowt-Czyz, Robert Jobson and Dominic Hayes

Article excerpt

THE scale of racism in London is revealed by new crime Metropolitan Police crime figures today.

Members of London's ethnic minorities face 36 racially motivated offences every day, as well as hundreds of uncounted instances of abuse and harassment.

In the wake of the racist taunts directed at several England football players in Madrid, the figures show a -persistent hard core of prejudice here.

Though reported attacks have fallen by nearly 35 per cent in the past five years, the bald figure masks wide variations.

In September, the BNP won its first London council seat for 10 years in Barking and Dagenham.

The 12 months leading up to the election saw 73 more racially motivated attacks in the borough than in the previous year - an 18 per cent rise. In nearby Havering there were 139 more attacks (a shocking rise of 84 per cent), while Brent reported 154 more crimes (up 42 per cent).

Bromley, Islington, Camden and Barnet also recorded significant surges, with smaller increases found in Redbridge, Bexley, Waltham Forest, Lewisham, Westminster, Kingston and Wandsworth. More difficult to count are the thousands of racist comments and incidents of harassment against members of communities making up two million of the capital's citizens - just under half the total minority population of Britain. They are so common they largely go unreported.

Commander Steve Allen, head of the Met's diversity directorate, believes London needs a complete change of culture - to make their reporting routine - before they can be properly tackled.

He said: "Any reduction in racist crime is a good thing, particularly the most violent. I would urge anyone who is a victim of any type of racist crime to report it.

"All reports are taken seriously and a specialist investigator from our community safety units will then progress the investigation. …