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Hate crimes against Muslims nearly treble in Barking and Dagenham

PUBLISHED: 07:00 09 September 2015

Muslims praying in a mosque Picture: Axel Heimken/PA Images

Muslims praying in a mosque Picture: Axel Heimken/PA Images

DPA/Press Association Images

Police have vowed to protect victims of hate crime as reported cases against Muslims have shot up in the borough in the past year.

The amount of people reporting Islamophobic offences almost trebled from eight to 21 in Barking and Dagenham, Met statistics released on Monday show.

This is more than double the average increase across the capital between 2014 and 2015.

The deputy borough commander, Superintendent Sean Wilson, said: “We have 35 officers dedicated to fighting hate crimes – that’s a lot of cops for 21 offences.

“Islamophobia is completely unacceptable and the second it becomes a major problem here we will pull out all the stops to prevent it.”

The force insists its efforts to build community relationships may be related to the surge.

“While figures are too high, they show an increased willingness to report these crimes,” Supt Wilson said.

“And that’s down to our outreach work.”

He said reaching out to the Muslim community in the borough means he is able to see the bigger picture behind the figures.

“When I speak to the Muslim communities they don’t tell me they are scared or uncomfortable in the borough,” he said.

“But we still take these crimes very seriously. I would like to reassure the public that if they report them we will deal with them.

“Barking and Dagenham is a very safe borough.”

Across London, Islamophobic crimes increased by 71 per cent – from 478 in 2014 to 816 in 2015.

In Barking and Dagenham, the overall number of reported racist or religious hate crimes rose 49 pc on last year, from 267 to 398.

The increase is nearly double London’s average of 27 pc.

Have you been a victim of a hate crime or Islamophobia? Get in touch on 0208 477 3778 or email iain.burns@archant.co.uk

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