Report by Joe Talora, Local Democracy Reporter
Violent hate crimes soared in London in 2021 with almost 9,500 offences recorded by police, new figures have revealed.
It represents a 44% increase on the figure recorded in 2018 and means there have now been more than 31,000 violent hate crimes in the capital in the past four years.
More than 80% of all the violent hate crimes recorded since 2018 involved the victim being targeted for their race or religion, though attacks motivated by anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia and transphobia all rose last year.
The figures were requested by Labour’s London Assembly member Unmesh Desai, who described them as “shocking and utterly depressing”.
Desai said: “Education is vital to stamping out hate and it has been positive to see the Mayor [of London] invest in grassroots and early intervention projects that counter harmful and intolerant attitudes.
“It is important that after many years of damaging austerity, the Met Police are properly resourced so they can more effectively respond to hate crime incidents.
“The new commissioner must also prioritise restoring Londoners’ trust and confidence in policing, so more victims of hate crime are comfortable coming forward to report their experiences.”
Anti-Semitic hate crimes in London rose by 45% between 2020 and 2021, with 849 incidents recorded in total last year – 290 of which were violent.
On Thursday, the London Assembly unanimously voted in favour of a motion that called on Sadiq Khan to develop a specific strategy to tackle anti-Semitism in London.
Conservative assembly member Susan Hall, who proposed the motion, said: “Anti-Semitism has no place in our city. Last year we saw a shocking 45% rise in reported antisemitic hate crimes.
“The horrific racism that we have seen on our streets towards Jewish Londoners needs tackling. The assembly calls on the mayor to act swiftly with all his available powers to eliminate anti-Semitism from London.”
There is also growing concern over the rise in homophobic and transphobic hate crimes in the capital.
Last summer saw homophobic hate crimes soar to a ten-year high, with 400 offences recorded in June alone. In total, there were 1,531 violent homophobic hate crimes in the whole of 2021.
The killing of Ranjith Kankanamalage in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park last August was believed to be motivated by homophobia, making it the only hate crime-related killing to take place in London in the past four years.
Following a rise in the number of reported hate crime incidents, the Metropolitan Police announced last month that it had “refreshed” its approach to dealing with hate crimes “in order to provide better support to victims, to enable a stronger response towards offenders of hate crime and to improve accessibility of our service to Londoners across all communities”.
Anyone who witnesses or is a victim of a hate crime in London is encouraged to contact the police on 101 or by calling 999 in an emergency.