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Recorder letters: Black History Month, hate crime and environment bill

PUBLISHED: 12:30 20 October 2019

A film screening about Trojan Records is one of the events taking place in Newham for Black History Month. Picture: Ian West/PA

A film screening about Trojan Records is one of the events taking place in Newham for Black History Month. Picture: Ian West/PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Black History Month: Learn, laugh and enjoy

Cllr James Beckles, Custom House ward and Forest Gate resident, writes:

It's October again and that means it's Black History Month. An occasion for reflection and learning about black history and culture in all its diversity and facets.

This is the second Black History Month to be celebrated as a corporate event by Newham council under the administration of Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz and it should be an opportunity for Newham residents to find an event that enlightens them about the black African diaspora.

Black history is full of colour, laughter and joy but like all histories there is triumph and sadness.

In Newham you will find lectures and workshops about black poetry, comedy, contemporary history post Windrush, flowers of Africa, lineage, a digital workshop and much more.

Like all immigrant communities to Newham the black community has contributed to Newham's unique diversity as a borough and to the wider UK society. It dates back before Windrush and is intertwined with British history from Roman enclaves to the Empire and modern day commonwealth.

So this Black History Month listen, learn, laugh and enjoy!

Zero-tolerance to hate crime

Superintendent Waheed Khan, The Met's Lead Responsible Officer (LRO) for hate crime, writes:

Hate Crime Awareness Week (October 12 - 19) is a national week of action, which takes place every October to raise awareness of hate crime.

It aims to bring people together to stand in solidarity with those affected by hate crime, support them and raise awareness, as well as prevent hate crime with our communities across London and challenge hate crime in all its forms.

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London is such a diverse and tolerant city, but too many still feel marginalised, or worse intimidated to go about their daily lives due to their race, faith, sexual orientation, gender or disability.

Hate crime incidents may involve a physical attack, damage to property, bullying, harassment, verbal abuse, insults or online abuse using social media and it is a scourge on our communities.

It can be deeply upsetting and humiliating for the victim, and sometimes victims don't believe they'll be taken seriously, however, I would like to remind victims that we (the Met) take a zero tolerance approach and that every report will be taken seriously.

Hate crime affects people from all walks of life, and impacts on communities across London. The Met does not tolerate any form of discrimination, and is committed to working with partners, such as MOPAC, TruVision, Tell Mama, Galop and Inclusion London, to robustly tackle hate crime by holding offenders to account, bringing prosecutions where appropriate, and in particular, supporting victims.

The Met has seen an increase in the reporting of all types of hate crime, and this rise is in part due to the growing willingness of victims to report crime and improved awareness by police. We have also seen a sharp increase in hate crimes perpetrated online, and the Met works with online platforms to identify offensive content and the people who post it, and progress investigations.

We would urge hate crime victims who have not spoken to police to come forward and tell us about incidents so they can be fully investigated."

Anyone who believes that they have been the victim of a hate crime is asked to call police on 101 or by tweeting @MetCC.

Information can also be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online.

Environment Bill will give new powers

Cllr Julian Bell, chairman, London Councils' Transport and Environment Committee, writes:

We welcome the Environment Bill announced in the Queen's Speech on Monday.

Air pollution in the capital is a silent killer and we need to ensure that producers pay for disposing of the packaging they create. New legislation that provides London boroughs with improved powers and resources is essential if we are to deal with these challenges.

We want the new Bill to support the boroughs to tackle air pollution more effectively.

Our priorities include introducing powers to tackle idling vehicles and crack down on other sources of harmful emissions such as wood burning stoves.

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