'Don't be silent' - Asian community urged to report hate crimes
- Credit: YUK KIU TSE
The leader of an Anglo Chinese organisation in Suffolk has urged Asian people to report hate crimes after figures revealed a rise in incidents since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Lydia Tse, chair of the Anglo Chinese Cultural Exchange (ACCE), which is based in Ipswich, said some members of the Asian community in the county had experienced racism during lockdown.
Ms Tse gave an example of an Asian person being called "coronavirus" and being told they were responsible for the pandemic in a supermarket.
She also pointed to incidents of serious assaults which have happened to Asian students further afield in Cambridge and Sheffield.
A Freedom of Information (FoI) request by this newspaper revealed there were 92 hate crime incidents against Asian people in Suffolk during 2020 - compared with 73 in 2019.
The figures showed that 12 people were charged and four were cautioned for offences in 2020. One person was also dealt with by way of community resolution.
Up to October 7 this year, there have been 59 incidents in the county, the statistics revealed.
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Ms Tse said: "In Suffolk, I have never personally had anything happen to me, but we have seen incidents, in Cambridge and Sheffield, of Chinese students returning to the UK after the pandemic and experiencing hate crime.
"If you feel you have been a victim of hate crime then just report it to the police because there is a law to protect everyone.
"That is your right to report it and the police will handle it. If people cannot speak English they can phone charities, or organisations such as ours, who can help them report the incident. Don't be silent."
Home Office figures released on Tuesday showed there was an 11% increase in general hate crime incidents in Suffolk in 2020/21.
The number of racially motivated offences in the county also increased by 13% in 2020/21 compared with the previous year.
Superintendent Jane Topping, from Suffolk police, said: “There is no place in society for hatred and intolerance and Suffolk Constabulary does not tolerate any type of hate crime against the diverse communities that reside within Suffolk.
"We take every report of hate crime very seriously and investigate incidents thoroughly.
“We work hard to raise awareness of what a hate crime is, which means we now receive more reports.
"However, hate crime is an area where we feel crime is under reported by victims and we continue to work to engage with communities to build trust and confidence so they feel able to report hate crimes to police.
“We want victims to be confident in coming forward, and we work with partners and external support groups to further raise awareness of hate crime and encourage wider reporting.
"We also provide inputs to educational settings across the county to ensure the implications of hate crime are raised with them and its unacceptability in modern society.”