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.
During the lockdown there was a period where hate crime reporting reduced in number. These numbers are now increasing and will easily reach pre lockdown levels, and my personal feeling is that they will begin to exceed those figures.
I believe that the lifting of lockdown and the greater openness of the ‘gay village’ with more open-air dining and drinking, will increases our visibility. This will also leave us vulnerable and identifiable to those who abuse, either verbally or physically.
Coming out of lockdown and the greater freedom this engenders, we will likely see a greater consumption of alcohol and other substances (not just illegal, for example Poppers) within this area. That will increase our community’s vulnerability, with that same increase in consumption affecting the likely abusers and disinhibiting their propensity to express their hate for those unlike themselves.
The recent figures for Westminster homophobic and transphobic hate crime are the highest in London. This is possibly due to more of us being visible in this area due to the ‘gay village’. Those that visit these areas are more confident in who they are so are more likely to report. Whilst there is some validity in these reasons, they do not explain it all.
With the investigation of offences sometimes taking some time to complete this cannot always be equated within the same month but actioned in some way. For example, an investigation was opened, but this might be different in the MPS area to other forces with which I have worked.
Yet with my previous caveat, we can certainly see a distinct pattern, as with the upward turn in the number of reports through the year. Within these figures is the very obvious level of transphobic incidents and offences with the corresponding SDs. As previously mentioned, we only have these figures from the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) LGBT Advisory Group, but the under reporting must be taken into consideration.
Read the Forum's ideas on how the Metropolitan Police can reduce hate crime.
Central West Police are piloting a new hate crime unit with effect from 1 January 2021. The unit will be a mix of officers from different strands, both detectives and uniform, from a pool of invested trailblazers with some representation and understanding of our diverse communities.
Every victim will receive contact from police and onward support. The vision is to have a passionate team of officers working on hate crime supporting victims and communities affected, improving performance around these crimes and public confidence.
Within the pilot Hate Crime Unit, investigators will work as a team alongside a Partnership PC and the Hate Crime Coordinator to ensure Hate Crime victims are listened to and supported, and that offenders are brought to justice.