Fall in hate crime welcomed

The Mayor, Coun Ron Conway, with new councillor Nazia Rehman at the launch of the latest council campaign #believeImonlyhuman

The Mayor, Coun Ron Conway, with new councillor Nazia Rehman at the launch of the latest council campaign #believeImonlyhuman

A Wigan councillor whose debut speech hit out at hate crime has welcomed a fall in incidents after a post-Brexit surge.

Police figures have shown a dip in reported incidents since June with forces asked to provide weekly updates following the result of the EU referendum.

Coun Nazia Rehman, who has urged borough residents to back the council’s new Believe I’m Only Human campaign, said the figures were encouraging.

The new Labour councillor for Tyldesley, elected in May, previously called on the borough to “refresh” its approach to promoting itself as a “compassionate and tolerant place”.

She told the Evening Post: “The reduction in reported hate crime figures is to be welcomed but the level is still far too high. There have also been a couple of high profile attacks in Harlow on Polish residents. Hate crime is unjustified against any minority group - not just black, minority, ethic citizens.

“So rather than just concentrating on monthly figures which are clearly variable, we should aim at increasing tolerance across Britain.

“Another factor that is very critical and should not be overlooked is the under-reporting of hate crimes. Although obvious divisions exist in our society, the way immigration and race was used to campaign for Brexit has worsened the situation.

“We need a continued effort and focus on hate crimes against anyone on any ground. It’s not the responsibility of only police but everyone in the society to discourage prejudice and intolerance.”

Following the EU vote result hate crime incidents, at their peak, showed a 58 per cent rise of alleged offences compared with 2015.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council said this has since subsided and there have been four consecutive weeks of reductions.

Figures provided by forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland show police logged 2,778 hate crimes and incidents from August 5 to 18.

This was a fall of 479 on the previous fortnight, but a 14 per cent increase on the equivalent period last year.

Coun Rehman added: “Wigan Council (through its new campaign) is providing a platform for everyone to come together, celebrate and talk about our differences and what we have in common. We are taking practical steps to facilitate communication between communities so we can furnish a culture of tolerance and bring everyone together.”