Sharp spike in homophobic crime in Newham despite survey’s claim it is best London borough for gay parents

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Hate crimes against gay people have risen sharply in Newham contrasting a recent survey stating the borough is London’s best place for gay and lesbian families.

The Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) figures show 46 hate crime offences were recorded up to August in 2017, compared to 43 for the whole of 2016.

The number of homophobic hate crimes reported also rose by 130 per cent over the last five years from 20 in 2012.

Rohit K Dasgupta, the first LGBTQ equalities co-ordinator for the West Ham Labour party in Newham, said he was concerned by the figures which he obtained through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

“It does worry me because it is such a spike. The fact that in 2017 we have already reached the levels of 2016 is quite bad.”

Hate crime incidents are those which are perceived by a victim to be motivated by hate or prejudice.

The numbers are at odds with a recent survey which touted Newham as the best London borough for gay and lesbian parents to raise a family.

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The study by the My Future Families Conference ranked London boroughs by house prices, the number of Ofsted-rated ‘outstanding’ schools, access to open spaces and reports of hate crime against people based on their sexual orientation.

“One of the things the survey doesn’t look at is what kind of social spaces exist in a borough [for LGBTQ communities] and currently in Newham there are none,” said Rohit.

The university lecturer is calling for more such venues, plus council-organised LGBTQ events and a council-led planning consultation with the community.

Cllr Rachel Tripp, cabinet member for equalities, said: “I was concerned to see the figures showing a rise in homophobic hate crime incidents, and along with Rohit will be asking the police for more information about the perpetrators, victims, and comparisons with other hate crimes in Newham.”

Sophie Linden, deputy mayor for policing and crime said the Mayor of London took a “zero-tolerance approach” to hate crime and an online hate crime hub launched in April was helping the police to tackle online hate more effectively.