Over 200 incidents of hate crime against Londoners of an East Asian appearance were recorded by the Metropolitan Police in the four-month period between June and September 2020.
The figures obtained by Labour’s London Assembly Policing and Crime Spokesperson, Unmesh Desai, mark a 96% rise upon the same period during the previous year. Mr Desai has urged Londoners to “stand in solidarity” with the capital’s East Asian communities, whilst encouraging victims of hate crime to “come forward” to report their experiences to the police.
Data provided by the Mayor of London, in response to a written question from Mr Desai, shows that between June and September this year, there were 222 incidents of East Asian hate crime in the capital.
This represents a 111% and 96% increase on the same periods in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
Mr Desai has now written to the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, asking for her reassurances that specific measures are being implemented to protect London’s East Asian communities, identify perpetrators of hate crimes and to raise awareness of how to report them.
He originally raised concerns about an increase in hate crime, as a reaction to the Covid-19 outbreak, at a Mayor’s Question Time session in March.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, responded by criticising outgoing US President, Donald Trump’s, labelling of Covid-19 as the ‘China virus’.
He remarked, “It’s really important that we do not fall into the trap of some to use this virus as an excuse to denigrate, demean and humiliate people.”
Since the start of the pandemic, representatives of Mayor’s Office have been taking part in bi-weekly meetings organised by the Metropolitan Police with London’s Chinese and East Asian community to raise awareness about hate crime and discuss the issues being faced by the community’s business owners during the Covid-19 outbreak.
The London Assembly has backed calls for the Home Secretary to introduce an updated Hate Crime Action Plan, with a targeted campaign against Sinophobia.
Mr Desai said:“Nobody should ever be the victim of a hate crime. These figures sadly confirm the many reports we have been hearing about an increase in the number of hate crimes targeted at Londoners from East Asian backgrounds, since the start of the pandemic.
“The Mayor, the Met and the Assembly have been clear that hate crime in all its forms will not be tolerated in our city. Fostering fear and division will only set us back in our fight against this virus.
“Whilst I fully acknowledge the trauma and difficulties that the victims of these attacks face, I would encourage them to come forward to report their experiences to the police. This means that incidents can be fully investigated, and more perpetrators brought to justice.
“As Londoners, we should all do our part to stand in solidarity with the capital’s East Asian communities.”