Nearly 300 people told to ‘go home’ in hate crimes since 2014
- Credit: Archant
Nearly 300 hate crimes where a member of the public was told to “go home” have been reported to police in Suffolk since 2014 new figures show.
The new figures, obtained under Freedom of Information (FoI) laws come as a Suffolk & Ipswich League Senior Division football match between Crane Sports and Henley Athletic was marred by the use of racist language towards one of the players.
The new data show that there were 292 hate crime incidents in Suffolk where the phrase "Go home" or "Go back to.." was used from January 2014 to the end of June 2019.
The number of incidents peaked in the county in 2015, when 63 were recorded, while 60 were reported in 2018, an increase of 30% on the previous year.
During the Crane Sports V Henley Athletic match, which took place at Greshams, in Ipswich, similar language was used towards a Crane's player after he was sent off. The person involved was dismissed from the ground following the incident.
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Damian Brown, assistant manager of Crane Sports, heard the abuse shouted at his player.
Although he admits it is a rare occurrence in the local non-league game, he is not surprised it happened.
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"Perhaps it's symbolic of the climate we live in today? I don't know," he said.
"I heard what was said and at first there was a bit of silence but then it was confronted by myself and others. I believe it wasn't said by one of the usual group of Henley supporters who follows their team.
"Some individuals seem to be just of that mindset. I was surprised how brazen it was and how loudly it was said.
"Am I surprised? Probably not.
"Not enough has been done at the top levels of the game to combat racism, so people at lower levels might think, 'you know what?'. It's not acceptable, both clubs dealt with it but we do need repercussions, otherwise what's the point?"
The racial incident was the second in Suffolk in the past 12 months after Ipswich Wanderers reported that one of their players was targeted with "racist abuse" during an under-18s game with Framlingham Town.
It was claimed a teenage player heard a "racist chant" from the crowd, which forced the game to be abandoned late in the second half. The club later thanked the football community for its support following the alleged incident.