Hate Crime in Monmouthshire
Discuss the data for Monmouthshire.
The Community Safety Team presented the data for hate crimes committed in Monmouthshire, highlighting that:
· There has been a slight decrease reported hate crime this year on comparisons with last year.
· Our data shows fewer reported crimes in comparison with neighbouring authorities
· In terms of the areas where the crimes are taking place, there is an even spread across the county.
Officers provided additional context to the figures given, explaining that they are relative to the overall population figures in each of the counties, so for example, whilst the population of Monmouthshire is 93k and Torfaen is 92.3k, our reported hate crime numbers are half of those reported in Torfaen, despite having similar population levels and in comparison with the other Gwent authorities, our numbers are relatively low.
The Community Safety Team explained that monthly meetings are held with a wide range of partners, ranging from education, safeguarding, police, probation, the South Wales Ambulance Trust and many others and that the Police haven’t highlighted hate crime to be an emerging issue. Also at their weekly meetings with crime and reduction officers, it hasn’t been raised as a concern. They acknowledged however that the data lone does not give the full picture, due to underreporting of hate crime due to fear of retribution and a lack of awareness as to what constitutes a hate crime. They advised that an awareness event is due to be held for taxi drivers, who may be experiencing hate crime but are not aware of the need to report it or how to report it. They also explained that hate crime often doesn’t sit on its own but sits alongside other offences.
I am interested in how we can evolve the conversation around this and increase awareness as well as gain more specific context as to where incidences are happening.
If the figures only show the hate crimes that have been reported and we know some people are not reporting, then we don’t have a full picture. What are we doing with schools to ensure they are reporting it?
We work with schools on the bullying agenda and how they record incidences and hate is one of the categories, so we can work with schools to understand what is happening and support them in tackling it.
Do you think there is significant underreporting of hate crime, in your opinion?
It’s difficult to say that specifically about hate crime, as you could argue there is underreporting with all crime. When we speak to the community, we ask if they are speaking to the police about incidences and they ask “what’s the point?” so public engagement with the police feels like a theme. The data presented is merely showing the people who had the courage to report it, so the chances are that hate crime is very underreported.
I understand that people may be frightened and want to be anonymous. If you look at other areas like Newport, that are more culturally diverse, it would be interesting to see the percentages of the population in different groups against the hate crime data.
We can see if there is any additional data we can provide for Monmouthshire, but we wouldn’t have data on transgender groups or religion, unless people told us that when they reported it and bearing in mind that some people may not have identified as a particular gender or race, we’d need to bear in mind of accuracy of the data (Action: Andy Mason, Sharran Lloyd).
What else are we doing aside from talking to schools?
Just for you to be aware, the work we do with schools, we also do with youth settings, covering young people up to age 25. We also do intergenerational work, and try to reach out to businesses, taxis etcetera to see how we can support them, but as elected Members, if you feel there are areas we could reach out to, please let us know.
Youth services, business solutions, taxis, so trying to reach out where we can but it’s work in progress as it’s if people are reaching out to us through you, get in touch.
Are the Police helping repeat reporters and supporting repeat victims sensitively?
There is a ‘Victims Code of Practice 2015’and those reporting are entitled to an enhanced service from the Police.
I have concerns about radicalisation of young people via online activity. What preventative measures are in place if we think there is an issue?
There is a ‘Prevent and Channel Panel’ of Police who are dedicated to delivering that programme, working individually with people, also utilising expertise from St Giles Trust for suspected gang related radicalisation and County Lines activity.
We have posed some good questions today and had really good responses, but I think we need to pose similar questions to the Police, so we will invite them to our next meeting to discuss hate crime as well as County Lines and invite the St Giles Trust in addition.
Action: Andy Mason to send the committee information on the ‘Prevent and Channel Panel’.