Suffolk/Essex: Rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes is evidence of victims’ growing confidence, police say


An increase in the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes being recorded in Suffolk and Essex is evidence of the growing confidence of victims to report offences, police have said.

Both forces have attributed the rising figures on their efforts to help minority groups feel safe reporting crimes, which previously fell underneath the radar.

In Essex, where reported Islamophobic crimes have doubled year on year, police have highlighted its “third party reporting mechanism” as a likely cause.

“It has been widely acknowledged that hate crime within the UK has been vastly under-reported fro a long time,” said Det Supt Ewen Wilson.

“The latest hate crime figures clearly show that the steps we have taken in Essex to address this issue have had an effect.

“Victims are becoming more confident in reporting hate crimes to the police. In particular we have seen a significant rise in the number of victims of disability related hate incidents coming forward whereas in the past there had been virtually none.”

Suffolk Constabulary, which also saw anti-Muslim hate crime rates nearly double, has attributed the rise on its partnership working initiatives with councils and other organisations, giving people greater confidence to make reports.

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Deputy Chief Constable Paul Marshall said the forces takes all reports of hate crime seriously and recognised the “devastating effects” they can have on victims.

Praising the “pioneering” Suffolk Hate Crime Service, launched in partnership with Suffolk County Council, Mr Marshall said victims of hate could now gain support from dedicated workers, until they felt ready to report the matter for formal action.

“These figures suggest that the efforts of the police, local councils and other organisations across the county are having an effect - and that people are coming forward to report hate crime incidents,” he said.

“The challenge now is to ensure that, together, we continue to offer our communities the right channels to get in touch and the organisations that can offer them support while dealing with these incidents effectively.”

Whereas nationally large urban forces such as Metropolitan Police recorded 500 Islamobophic offences between January and mid-November this year, up from 336 in 2012, the numbers in East Anglia were far lower.

Suffolk’s anti-Muslim hate crime figure was 11 for 2013 compared with seven last year. And Essex Police recorded 14 offences this year, twice that of 2012.

The hacking to death of soldier Lee Rigby by two Islamic extremists in Woolwich was linked with a massive spike in May, when the murder was carried out, with Scotland Yard recording 104 anti-Muslim hate crimes in that month alone, followed by a further 108 in June.