Bedfordshire Police Force to record Islamophobia as a separate hate crime
Categories: Latest News
Friday May 16 2014
Since the election last November of Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales, we have been busy working with elected PCCs toward the implementation of four key pledges contained in our PCC election manifesto.
Key among our priorities is the recording of Islamophobia as a separate category of hate crime, as currently recorded by the Metropolitan Police Service, and in the manner anti-semitic hate crime is recorded by all police forces across the country. The conflation of Islamophobic hate crime in a general category on religion-based hate crime with no disaggregation of the data based on the actual or perceived religion of the victim has made accurate data on the scale of the problem difficult to quantify.
It is pleasing therefore, to note this press notice issued today by Bedfordshire PCC, Olly Martins, on the local force’s beginning to record Islamophobia separately from hate crime.
“Our force is the third in the country to make these changes, and did so in response to concerns voiced at a roundtable meeting organised by my Deputy, Tafheen Sharif, attended by local community leaders as well as representatives from national organisations.
“This is a real step change that started with talking and listening to our communities, and working together to ensure that Islamophobia is recorded in a way that accords with the victim’s perspective.”
Bedfordshire Police recorded 300 hate crimes and 180 hate incidents in 2013/14. But Mr Martins pointed out: “We recognise that this probably represents a small percentage of the true figure, and we suspect that hate crime and hate incidents are vastly under-reported in Bedfordshire.”
Despite Bedfordshire police force being significantly smaller and an under-funded rural force, it has undertaken to make the separate recordings in the same way as London Metropolitan and Greater Manchester Police – two of the largest and best-resourced forces in the country.
Ms Tafheen Sharif said that she, along with the Commissioner, would be reviewing the recording of Islamophobia incidents and putting the data to best use.
“The ambition is for Bedfordshire to become a beacon of good practice in tackling hate crime”.