London mayor Sadiq Khan has blamed a sharp rise in hate crime on the vote to leave the European Union referendum, which he said has given some people the impression they have "permission to behave this way".
He made the comments to the London Assembly on Wednesday after Metropolitan police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said that since the Brexit vote hate crime had increased by 25–50% across the capital with a 75% increase in arrests.
On Tuesday the force revealed it had received 599 hate crime reports between Friday 24 June, the day the result was announced, and Saturday 2 July. On an average day it receives between 20 and 50 reports.
Khan said: "You can’t escape the conclusion of the cause and the effect. My analysis is that there seems to be an impression that those involved in this sort of behaviour have permission to behave this way.”
He urged those who had been victims of hate crime to report the offences: “You’ve got to report it. The police want to hear from you. This police service that polices our city now is different to those in the past. From the top to the bottom they care about this.”
Khan’s comments follow a rise in instances of hate crime across the country. BBC presenter Trish Adudu was subjected to racism in Coventry last week. During the incident, she said she was told to "go home" and was also called the n-word.
According to the National Police Chiefs' Council, its weekly average of 63 recorded hate crimes sent to its dedicated website True Vision has increased to 331.
Khan said the “shocking rise of hate crime in the last two weeks” was unacceptable, and he was determined to “stamp this out right away” with the help of the Met police.
“When I was growing up it wasn't common for people to use the p-word, n-word, and the y-word as term of racial abuse. My children haven't heard the n-word in my area, but we are hearing that on the streets of London. That's why it's important to stamp [it] out," Khan said.
On the subject of Brexit, the mayor said the assembly “plays a crucial role in London’s democracy” and that he was determined that the city would get a seat at the table throughout the negotiations in Brussels.
Victoria Sanusi is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Victoria Sanusi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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