Some argue that this demonstrates progress in that people now feel able to report these incidents when previously they would have gone unreported. What is clear is that racial hatred still exists in our communities, people still hold such strong beliefs around who they think people are based on their race, that they are motivated to commit crimes against them.
There is hope
Stop Hate UK is a national charity that works alongside local strategic partnerships to tackle Hate Crime and discrimination, encourage reporting and support the individuals and communities it affects.
They provide a toolkit to help improve local responses to Hate Crime and an alternative for people who do not wish to report Hate Crime to the police or other statutory agencies. Providing independent support and information, 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
The organisation was set up in 1995 as a service for victims of racial harassment in response to the murder of Stephen Lawrence, a black British teenager who was stabbed to death in an unprovoked racist attack by a gang of white youths at a bus stop south-east London, while travelling home with his friend.
The case was a watershed moment, exposing cultural attitudes to race and highlighting the black community’s relationship with the police. The murder led to changes in the law and sparked further reviews, including the landmark Macpherson inquiry in 1999, which concluded that the Metropolitan Police Service was institutionally racist. If you have not watched it, I recommend watching the BBC documentary The murder that changed a nation.
In 2006 the Stop Hate Line was launched in response to recommendations from The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, 1999 which said all possible steps should be taken by Police Services at local level in consultation with local Government and other agencies and local communities to encourage the reporting of racist incidents and crimes. This should include the ability to report at locations other than police stations; and the ability to report 24 hours a day.
The Patron of the charity is Stephen’s mother Baroness Doreen Lawrence of Clarendon OBE. In the years that have followed Stephen’s death she has fought for justice, taking on the establishment to bring about real change and reforms of the police service. She founded the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust which transforms the lives of young people and as Patron of Stop Hate UK she has helped to advance the reporting and prosecution of hate crimes in the UK. In 2003 she was appointed to the Order of the British Empire in recognition for her services to community relations. She was later created a Life Peer.