RACIST and religious hate crimes have risen in a number of west London boroughs.
Police statistics show increases in Hammersmith and Fulham, Ealing, and Kensington and Chelsea.
Hammersmith and Fulham recorded the largest rise of these, up 28 per cent in the past year from 247 incidents to 315. Next comes Kensington and Chelsea with a 25 per cent increase (188 to 235), followed by Ealing on 17 per cent (346 to 407), which is also the average increase across London.
Phil Cooper (pictured), of the Hammersmith and Fulham Refugee Forum, says he is not surprised by the figures because rises in these sorts of offences often occur in times of recession and austerity – and he laid the blame on the media.
“These statistics are very concerning,” he said. “Sadly, it is not unusual for this type of crime, as well as domestic abuse, to rise during difficult times. There has been a relentless attack on migrants that feature almost daily in certain national newspapers and was fanned by various government ministers and other prominent politicians.
“Community cohesion is a vital ingredient of community life in the diverse boroughs of west London and it is under attack in so many ways, with across the board cuts in funding for local groups who work with the various ethnicities.”
Mr Cooper, whose group had to move from its own headquarters last year following council cuts, urged victims of hate crime to contact police.
He added: “We would like to know what specific actions the police and the local authorities feel they can take in an effort to tackle this increase in a very pernicious crime.”
Hammersmith and Fulham police were approached for a comment, but did not respond before the Chronicle went to press.