The rise in racial hatred and xenophobia demands a National Hate Crime Strategy.
Britain is a modern multicultural democracy that has benefited tremendously from the historic contributions of citizens from formerly colonised countries and, more recently, the contributions of contemporary migrant labourers.
Frighteningly, less than two weeks post the EU referendum, Britain has returned to a level of racism, violence and fear not seen since Enoch Powell delivered his infamous ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech in Birmingham in 1968.
A key element of the Brexiters campaign negatively targeted immigration and migrants, thereby legitimising the racial abuse and violence we are now seeing on a daily basis.
The British political class and media have - with a few exceptions – pandered to racism, xenophobia and religious hatred, to the extent that many members of settled black communities and migrants, both black and white, are now living in fear. The failure of those in power to show real leadership is a stain on our democracy.
In the last week alone, according to Sarah Thornton of the National Police Chiefs Council, there has been a reported 5 fold increase - 500% - in the incidence of Hate Crime. We believe this widely reported increase merely represents the tip of the iceberg, as the vast majority of these crimes go unreported to statutory authorities.
Whilst we note the Government's announcement that there will be a renewed focus to tackle racial hatred, we believe there is much more that needs to be done. We hereby call upon politicians and the media to firmly reject racism and positively reinforce the fact that Britain is today, and will always be, an inclusive, democratic, multicultural society. Equally, we call on all communities to publically support and stand in solidarity with those communities under attack.
We also demand our Government urgently commit to the development of a comprehensive National Hate Crime Strategy which can both offer protection and provide public confidence and reassurance. It must be made clear that as a Government, and as a nation, we have zero tolerance for all forms race hate.
Despite the racism and xenophobia that has accompanied the referendum we believe the silent majority in Britain still oppose racism and bigotry.
Operation Black Vote
Race On The Agenda
Race Equality Foundation
Society of Black Lawyers
Black South West Network
Croydon BME Forum
Gypsy-Traveller organisation Friends Families and Travellers