Campaigning alliance Nottingham Citizens on Monday launched an independent civic inquiry into hate crime in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. A team of six leading Citizen Commissioners were appointed to conduct the deepest piece of research into hate crime across the county to date, in what will be the largest piece of peer led research into hate crime in the UK.
Official statistics suggest only 400 hate crimes and incidents occur per quarter in Nottingham City and a further 400 in Nottinghamshire. Yet a survey of 130 taxi drivers over one week identified 696 incidents of racist abuse, a report Commissioned by Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping found 27% of BME people had been victims of hate crime in the last 12 months, and research by Stonewall suggests 1/10 LGBT people have been subject to a hate assault in the last year.
With this gulf between the reality experienced by communities across the county, campaigners deemed it essential to launch a Commission to develop a true picture of the extent of hate crime and to make radical recommendations for reform to key agencies to help them make sure there is no place for hate.
The Commission launched on Monday 9th June 2014 at 18:15 in St Nic’s Church, Maid Marian Way, Nottingham in front of 300 people. Police Commissioner Tipping, the Chief Constable, City Council member Dave Liversidge – portfolio holder for community safety, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Courts and Magistrates attended and are made public commitments to work with Commissioners to drive out hate crime. These public figures sat alongside victims of hate crime who publicly shared their testimonies and their experiences of hate.
Chair of the Commission Bishop Paul Thomas said,
“I’m proud to Chair this Commission and play my part in tackling this blight on our communities. I’m an ex service man, a Pentecostal Bishop and a taxpayer and I experience hate crime regularly in the life of this city and county. How many others are there suffering out there?
This is a question of race, gender and disability, this a question of fundamental human dignity and making sure there’s no place for hate.
It is truly shocking how low levels of reported hate crime are, given what we know to be the reality out there. This Commission will get to the bottom of that reality and find answers to the major question facing us – how do we drive hate crime out of Nottingham and out of Nottinghamshire."
Secretary of the Commission Sajid Mohammed said,
“I’m proud to live and work in a diverse and welcoming city like Nottingham. Our diversity is something to celebrate and it demands that we act together to end hate crime.
With such a huge gap between reported crime and the reality it is urgent that we get to the bottom of the situation and get a handle on hate. My children should be safe to grow here and live the lives they choose. No one should suffer discrimination and hate crime, and this commission is setting out to ensure that they don’t.
This will be ground breaking research, supported by Nottingham Trent University’s Hate Crime Centre, and it’s vital that people are heard.”
Bishop Paul Thomas – New Testament Church of God
Dr Musharraf Hussain – CEO, Karimia Institute
Mel Jeffs – CEO, Nottingham Women’s Centre
Dr Simon Smith – Head of Local Services, Nottinghamshire Healthcare
Jo Mossman – leading disability rights campaigner and lead on the Nottingham Equalities and Fairness Commission
Dr Max Biddulph – Chair, University of Nottingham LGBTQ Network