Can a 74% Rise in Race Crimes Be Good News?; Yes, Is the Suprise Answer from Ethnic Minorities
Houston, Simon, Mulford, Sarah, Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
RACE crimes have soared by 74 per cent, according to alarming new figures released yesterday.
But ethnic minority groups welcomed the big rise and said it showed victims had a new faith in the police to deal with race- related incidents.
In the last nine months of 1999, the Strathclyde force dealt with 616 race crimes - compared with 354 for the whole of the previous year.
Maggie Chetty, of West of Scotland Community Relations Council, said: "We have campaigned very hard to get more people to report such crimes.
"And I am very happy to see the rise because it means the police are doing a better job of recording them."
Public awareness has also been heightened in the wake of last year's Macpherson report into the murder of teenager Stephen Lawrence in London.
Ms Chetty added: "There is a pretty big drive on in the wake of the Lawrence Inquiry and there is no doubt that has sharpened up attitudes."
Councillor Bashir Mann, convener of Strathclyde's joint police board, agreed there was now "enhanced confidence" among the area's ethnic minority communities.
But he added: "There must be some element of increased racism too because the figures have shot up so much. We are doing what we can but there is no room for complacency.
"We will have to continue to work hard to eradicate the evil of racism."
Of last year's 616 cases, more than 60 per cent were breaches of the peace. The rest included assault (17 per cent), vandalism (nine per cent) and robbery (one per cent).
A survey of victims revealed 55 per cent thought racially-motivated crime was on the increase. …