Opinion: Tackling hate and hostile environment

PUBLISHED: 15:40 28 May 2019 | UPDATED: 15:40 28 May 2019

Unmesh Desai AM is tackling hate crime and hostile environments.

Unmesh Desai AM is tackling hate crime and hostile environments.


Over the past month, I have been speaking at Ramadan gatherings across east London and local people have rightly expressed their concerns about hate crime in the aftermath of the tragic terror attacks in Christchurch and Colombo.

At City Hall, I recently challenged the police commissioner about the security of our religious institutions and I will continue to lobby the Home Office for more resources.

I questioned the mayor about what more our sporting institutions could be doing to stamp out racism from events at London's football stadiums. In relation to this, I am pleased that my efforts to get West Ham to condemn the DFLA have seen some success, as the club have now said they will be monitoring them.

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We will be holding an in-depth session on hate crime to take evidence from groups like Hope not Hate at our second London Police and Crime Committee meeting of the 2019/20 year, and I am keen to hear more about how the Met could work more effectively with third sector groups in tackling these issues. I have previously met with their hate crime unit to discuss their strategy and earlier this month hosted a Show Racism the Red Card event at City Hall.

Fighting the government's hostile environment on all fronts is another of my top priorities. The requirement for the police to pass on information regarding the immigration status of victims of crime to the Home Office is reprehensible and counter-intuitive.

Following my report on this, and a chorus of calls from others, there were tentative signs that the Home Office were no longer encouraging this practice. However, after my discussions with the Latin American Women's Rights Service on this issue, it is sadly apparent that these referrals are continuing to be made. Many victims of modern slavery continue to be affected by this policy.

Further information on my work tackling hate crime and fighting the hostile environment can be found in my reports Policing London: Vision for a Safer City and Victims of Crime and Immigration Status, both of which are available on my GLA webpage.

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