There has been a significant increase in the reporting of hate crime following the EU referendum.
Police and community organisations have recorded a rise in the number of attacks on people from ethnic minorities and of non-British nationality, including on community centres and places of worship in the days following the EU referendum.
It is important not only that the EU referendum decision is respected, but that work is done to heal the divisions created. Britain must remain open and welcoming. Racism and discrimination must be challenged. Hate crime must have no place in our society.
I, and my Labour colleagues, have raised these issues on a number of occasions in the House of Commons and in public. Early in July an Opposition motion was debated which called on the government to commit to giving EU nationals currently living in the UK the right to remain here. I supported this motion and it was passed with support from MPs from across the House of Commons by 245 votes to two. This sent a clear message of support to EU nationals that they are valued members of our society and welcome to stay. The government should accept the result of the vote.
In July, the government published a hate crime action plan which outlines five key areas for tackling the issue, including giving young people and teachers the tools to tackle it, increasing reporting of hate crime, improving victim support and improving data. As part of the plan, there is a £2.4 million funding scheme for places of worship. In addition, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary has been asked to assess the way police respond to all forms of hate crime. The Home Affairs Select Committee has also announced an inquiry into hate crime and its consequences. I will follow the progress of this and other developments closely.
Hate crime can be reported directly to the police at a police station, by phoning the 101 hotline, or online through the True Vision website – www.report-it.org.uk