Assembly member urges action on 'unacceptable' hate crime rise

London Assembly's Unmesh Desai... warning of eviction deluge with ban being ended

Unmesh Desai quizzed London mayor Sadiq Khan on rising hate crime - Credit: Mike Brooke

London Assembly member Unmesh Desai has described an increase in hate crimes as "unacceptable".

Reported hate crimes in England and Wales have risen nine per cent since the start of the pandemic, while in London the increase was 10pc.

The issue was raised by Mr Desai, who represents the City and East constituency including Barking and Dagenham, Newham and Tower Hamlets, with London mayor Sadiq Khan at Mayor's Question Time (October 14).

The mayor assured Mr Desai that "tackling hate crime continues to be a key priority", pointing to initiatives such as redesigning the hate crime officer role, newly established LGBT+ advisors and investing more than £7 million into dealing with the issue.

Mr Khan also indicated his support for misogyny to be recorded as a form of hate crime.

Following the session, Mr Desai said: "It's unacceptable. We've had 24,000 hate crimes of all categories over the last year from April 2020 to March 2021 (in London).

"This [requires] education at all levels, starting from an early age. The mayor can use his convening powers in his ambassadorial role to get that message across.

"Transport for London's posters on the Tube, No To Hate Crime, stuff like that. It's a small thing, but it's so important seeing those messages."

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Mr Desai also believes more action from central government is needed to reduce hate crime.

"It's about education, about enforcement of existing legislation, of police training", he added.

Mr Desai's questions came as investigations continue into the killing of Ranjith Kankanamalage in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park on August 16.

Police are offering a £20,000 reward for information leading to identification and conviction of the 50-year-old's killer in what they have described "as a homophobic hate crime".

Det Supt Pete Wallis said: "We continue to urge anyone with information, no matter how insignificant they believe it to be, to report it to police or any of our LGBT+ partners."

Derek Lee, from the Met's LGBT+ advisory group, added: "We are aware that, while it remains unsolved, this is causing considerable concern amongst LGBTQ+ people in Tower Hamlets and across London."

People should contact 101, giving the reference 1277/16AUG, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, or to GALOP on 0207 7704 2040 or ELOP on 020 8509 3898.