If you have experienced hate crime within the Westminster area and want to report it, you can do so via Stop Hate Crime.
If you have experienced hate crime, sexual violence or domestic abuse, you can get support from GALOP.
They also support lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer people who have had problems with the police or have questions about the criminal justice system.
We have two types of reported statistics, incidents and offences in the Westminster area. These roughly breakdown into where something has taken place whilst impactful to the victim but is not considered a crime under current law, and those that are a crime.
It is known that under reporting of hate crime is a particular issue, but also that certain types of hate crime and those to specific groups are even more unlikely to be reported. Homophobic but more specifically transphobic are amongst the least reported aspects of those within the five protected characteristics under law.
The increase in the reporting of these incidents/crimes could be explained by the changes in the MPS response to the LGBTQIA+ community, increased visibility at Pride and other events, merchandising and advertising their inclusion in recruitment and promotion of ‘gay’ officers, that the service welcomes reports.
Yet that can only be said to have impacted on a small percentage in the increase in the reports as pointed out in the HMICFRS (Her Majesties Inspectorate of Constabulary Fire and Rescue Services) 2018 Understanding the difference, the initial police response to hate crime) report.
As can be seen from the Hate Crime figures, homophobic and transphobic incidents and crimes are on the rise and with the new guidelines on Covid we will see more people going to clubs, pubs, and events. With this freedom for our community also comes the same freedom for those that hate, and I fear especially for the trans community with the continuing online and media hate that this rise will be steep.
The level of trust and opinion of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has not been seen at such a low level in many years. This is not surprising considering the inquest report. This was then exacerbated by the documentary and drama on the BBC. It is being taken as rote that they are, as has been stated by the mother of one of the gay men murdered, institutionally homophobic.
For example, at an LGBT training session an MPS LGBT+ Liaison officer was given a rough time. It was not abusive, but the distrust was very clearly shown. Much of the good work done by such officers has been severely undermined by the actions of those investigating these murders.
This has been compounded by recent incidents, trials and disciplining of officers for crimes against women and minority communities and the perceived handling of the investigations internal and external.
At an online East London Inquest Community Meeting, which was attended by senior members of the MPS and approximately one hundred community leaders, the meeting was heated and many home truths were expressed around how often the community had been promised change with nothing actually happening.
More acceptance of fault from the police with promises of action was greeted with “believe it when we see it.” The temperature of MPS community relations is frigid to say the least. There are those trying to repair this, but it will be a long haul at this time and any improvement will take time with proactive action by the MPS.
How and what, will be up to the new Commissioner when they are in post, and it will be interesting to look at their record on community relations. We can only hope that they plan to commit to institutional change and not go back to slow incremental change only when pushed by the communities affected.
Read the Forum's ideas on how the Metropolitan Police can reduce hate crime.