Conviction For "Hate Crime" Offence

Merton "Stop Hate" campaign launched in June

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A few months after a campaign against "hate crime" was launched in Merton, there has been a conviction after a homophobic incident on public transport.

The perpatrator was taken to court and given a 12-month community order, which involves 140 hours unpaid work. The order also requires them to pay £200 in compensation to the victim and £85 in court costs.

The Safer Merton partnership, including the council, the police, victim support and others, launched the "Stop Hate" campaign in June.

Conviction is just one way in which it is tackling hate crime. It is also working to help victims report crime more easily and has recently joined forces with Stop Hate UK to launch a localised 24-hour reporting phone line for victims of hate crime. Early indications show that this is gaining momentum and supporting individuals on the borough who are experiencing hate crime or abuse.

Councillor Edith Macauley, Merton Council cabinet member for community safety, involvement and equality said: "Anyone dealing with hate crime needs to know that support is available. Merton’s partnership with Stop Hate UK means that you can now report crimes, no matter how small, at any time of day, in complete confidence.

"This example of a conviction also proves that both the courts system and the Safer Merton partners in the borough are working together to tackle hate crime and this kind of crime will not be tolerated.”

Mark Lawrence, Chief Inspector for Partnership, Merton police added: "It is tremendously encouraging that the work of Safer Merton has helped reduce hate crime by over 25% in the last twelve months. However, we must not be complacent. Hate crime will simply not be tolerated in the borough of Merton. We are committed to working with our partners to ensure that offenders are brought to justice and that victims can be confident in reporting crime and are supported when they do."

If you are suffering or know someone who is dealing with hate crime you can call Stop Hate UK on 0800 138 1625.

September 24, 2010