Concerns expressed over rise in anti-gay hate crimes in Barking and Dagenham

Ryan Edwards, chair of the LGBT network for Barking and Dagenham

Ryan Edwards, chair of the LGBT network for Barking and Dagenham - Credit: Archant

Homophobic hate crime has risen by 75 per cent in the borough over the past year, new figures reveal.

Police claim the rise is due to more incidents being reported, however, Barking and Dagenham’s LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) network has hit out saying not enough is being done to crack down on this type of crime.

In the year to March, 21 reports of homophobic crime were made; a sharp rise on 12 incidents over the same period last year.

Ryan Edwards, chairman of Barking and Dagenham LGBT network, said: “I’m not surprised by the figures.

“I have repeatedly asked the officers for a meeting but they have never met with me. They are paying lip service to the notion of having an LGBT service.

“They need to be open with the resources they are putting behind it.”

But he said after living more than eight years in the borough he had never suffered homophobic abuse himself and that the borough was not a “no-go area” for the LGBT community.

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Neighbouring boroughs Newham and Redbridge have also seen increases in homophobic hate crime with both boroughs reporting twice the number of incidents in the face of a downward trend across the capital.

“What I do think is a concern is the growing right-wing religion in the borough,” said Ryan. If there is that rhetoric coming out it is no surprise that hate crime has risen in this area and we need the police to step up.”

Det Sgt Eugene McCarthy, of Barking and Dagenham LGBT Liaison Team, said police have a specially trained, dedicated team who work closely with the council and other agencies to encourage victims of homophobic crime to come forward.

“This years crime figures demonstrate that an increase in reporting is evident. We continue to encourage anyone who is affected by homophobic crime not to suffer in silence. There is an officer waiting to listen,” he added.

n Visit for more about one-to-one sessions or the Barking and Dagenham LGBT network at or call 020 8532 7322.