Whilst acknowledging that ‘hate crimes’ fell in the town last year, Rotherham Police have promised to increase patrols as they are concerned about potential “Islamophobic attacks” after three Muslim men were convicted of grooming underage girls this week.
During the trial of the three rapists, members of the police were accused of effectively covering for the Muslim grooming gangs, who operated with impunity for over twenty years, by brokering deals with them, passing them drugs and even having sex with their underage victims themselves.
One of the accused officers was related to the three rapist brothers, convicted on Wednesday, and the police watchdog is now examining almost 200 allegedly corrupt Rotherham officers.
However, Chief Superintendent Jason Harwin, the commander of Rotherham’s local policing unit, told the Guardian that they would be more vigilant in protecting the local Muslim population against a perceived threat, and would be increasing patrols across the town.
GUILTY: Arshid & Basharat Hussain, Karen MacGregor, Shelley Davies, Qurban Ali & Bannaras Hussain guilty of abuse pic.twitter.com/iADEGcgWpK
— SouthYorkshirePolice (@syptweet) February 24, 2016
Whilst acknowledging that racially motivated hate crimes had actually fallen in Rotherham over the past twelve months, Mr. Harwin pointed to the murder of a local Muslim man over a year ago as anecdotal evidence of “islamophbia” in the town.
As the police continue to push this line, it is worth remembering that the Jay Report into the scandal, released last year, concluded that among the primary reasons for the police turning a blind eye to the industrial scale rape were myths of “islamophobia” and fears of being accused of racism.
Chief Superintendent Harwin said anyone perceived as committing ‘hate crime’ would be brought to justice.
“While racially motivated recorded crimes in Rotherham are lower than this time last year, we are aware that this is an under-reported issue. This is something we are addressing by working closely with third-party reporting centres and exploring how we can improve our response to this crime,” he said.
He added: “We really want victims of hate crime to feel confident in coming forward so if you have been a victim, or know someone who is a victim, please do tell someone, whether that is the police or another agency. We can deal with reports and information in confidence.”
Just finished an interview with @bbc5live on Rotherham. We stand with the justice system and ask for more investigations to be done.
— Muhbeen Hussain (@MuhbeenH) February 24, 2016
“We’ve got hate crimes throughout the whole town,” claimed Muhbeen Hussain of the British Muslim Youth group, adding: “Individuals are being vilified and being made out to look like it’s the community hiding something, and that is stirring up hatred and dividing communities.”
Last year, Mr. Hussain’s organisation called for a boycott of South Yorkshire Police, insisting that Muslims in Rotherham have been “demonised” and “scapegoated” and “our women” have been “attacked” since the publication of the Jay Report last year.