Sheffield hate crimes ‘going unreported’

Shoppers on The Moor. Picture: Andrew Roe
Shoppers on The Moor. Picture: Andrew Roe
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Police have raised concerns that racist incidents in Sheffield are not being reported to them following a national increase in hate crimes in the wake of the Brexit vote.

South Yorkshire Police said they are urging anyone affected to contact them.

A spokesman said: “We are aware of concerns within our communities about a rise in incidents of religious and racial abuse following the recent EU Referendum.

“We are also aware that due to the nature of this type of crime that people don’t always feel that they can or that they want to tell police. As a result, incidents can go unreported.

“We are urging anyone affected by hate crime or who is a victim of abuse to report it to us.

“It doesn’t have to be directed at you, you can still report it to us or to one of our third party reporting centres.

“Reporting can make a big difference – as well as helping to prevent someone else from being a victim, it helps us to understand what is going on in our communities and the best way for us to respond.

“South Yorkshire Police will not tolerate hate crime or hate-related incidents and we are committed to tackling hostility aimed at someone because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender or disability.

“Everyone deserves to feel safe and secure in their communities and we are working with our partners to tackle hate crime head on and bring those responsible to justice.”

The rise in hate crimes following the Brexit result is to be discussed by Sheffield councillors tomorrow.

A motion being put to a meeting of Sheffield Council on Wednesday by Labour councillor Craig Gamble Pugh raises concerns about ‘the increases in hate crime reported in the days following the EU referendum and condemns those who use the referendum as cover to seek to hurt and divide our communities’.

He said a 22 per cent increase in hate crimes were recorded in South Yorkshire in 2014/15 when a total of 284 incidents were reported to police.

The motion asks for the support of councillors to encourage the public to report hate crime incidents to the authorities.

Last week, it was revealed that hate crime incidents reported to a national police portal were five times the typical weekly level.

A total of 331 incidents were reported to the True Vision online site - equivalent to 47 each day - from June 23 to 29. The tally, disclosed by the National Police Chiefs’ Council, compared with a weekly average of 63 reports.

In Rotherham, dozens of hate crimes against Muslims have been recorded since the start of the year.

Organisation Tell MAMA said there have been 32 incidents in the town since January - including an incident where a Muslim woman’s car window was broken by a man with a pistol. Fiyaz Mughal, director at Tell MAMA, said most incidents following the child sexual exploitation scandal appear to be targeted at taxi drivers and women.