Leaked e-mails reveal London’s Conservative mayor, Boris Johnson, plans to announce a new “hate crime” reporting hotline. However, various identity groups and grievance charities oppose the initiative, believing each victim group needs it’s own tailor-made hotline to encourage maximum reporting of perceived “hate crimes.”
Every year more hate crimes are recorded in London than across the whole of the US. They range from comparatively harmless low-level speech offences to crimes of violence that have always been illegal under other pre-existing legislation. Those criminally violent acts are then combined with hate crime legislation to punish an offender’s motivation against a protected group as well as the offence committed itself.
A quarter of all LGBT hate crime reports for the country are made in London, and the city has been described as the “hate crime reporting capital of the world” by Nik Noone, chief executive of London’s LGBT charity Galop.
The Conservative Mayor, MP and party leadership hopeful, meanwhile, thinks what London needs is even more of a victimhood culture and plans to announce the hate crime hotline during “hate crime awareness week” in October, according to e-mails seen by The Guardian.
However, various groups who run hotlines of their own have come out against the move. Jewish group the Community Security Trust (CST), Muslim group Tell Mama (who lost government funding last year after exaggerating the “backlash” following the murder of Lee Rigby) and Galop all say that Johnson’s plans would reduce the amount of perceived “hate crimes” that get reported.
Richard Benson, former chief executive of the CST for 12 years until 2013, said:
“It is quite clear that communities feel more comfortable when they are victims of a hate crime to report the issue to somebody within that community who understands them.
“That’s why the CST and Tell Mama have both been successful in providing a level of support to their communities, but to have a one-stop shop that covers every single community will be confusing and, secondly, will dilute the existing successful work currently carried out by those groups.”
He told The Guardian that a similar plan was proposed by the Metropolitan Police five years ago, but was abandoned following a similar backlash from various charities, some of which have a vested interested in maintaining the current “community led” system.
Nobody defends violent crime in any way, but some critics do see hate crime as being no different to ‘thought crime’ as it is only an offender’s motivation that distinguishes it from another crime identical in nature. As Ed West once wrote for The Telegraph:
“The truth is that there is no such thing as hate crime, only crime. Hating cannot be a crime, because it’s an emotion, not an action, and those who wish to make emotions and thoughts criminal are the enemies of freedom and liberal democracy. They are the ones creating a form of theocracy, in which we are punished for thoughts, rather than actions.”