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Racist attacks in West Midlands rise during coronavirus crisis

A report to the police and crime commissioner’s strategic policing and crime board states victims of Asian ethnicity were the most common recorded for hate crime in June.

Racist attacks on Chinese, Japanese and South East Asian communities have doubled in the region since the start of the coronavirus crisis, police figures show.

The rise in hate crime against these groups is thought to be due to perpetrators bigotedly associating victims with the pandemic.

The report says “those of Chinese/Japanese/South East Asian ethnicity more than doubled since the previous quarter”.

All recorded hate crime has increased over the last quarter both in comparison to the previous quarter and the same period in 2019, according to the report which gives figures from West Midlands Police.

There were 1,303 racially-motivated hate crimes recorded during the period according to the report, accounting for 80 per cent of the hate crime total.

Homophobic hate crimes were the second highest with 189 offences – 12 per cent of the total.

There has also been an increase in hate crime linked to religion with the majority of incidents directed at “perceived Islam”.

A hate crime symposium event held last month heard there have been increased hate crime incidents towards Eastern European communities in Walsall “for supposedly not following lockdown rules”.

The meeting heard a lot of the communities supported by the Victim Support charity have said “they do not feel as though reporting will improve matters as the abuse they face has been normalised”.

The victims team in the office of the PCC is now aiming to develop a hate crime working group.

PCC David Jamieson said: “I wish to make it clear to those people who seem to think Chinese people living in the UK are responsible for Covid-19 that this view is absurd and any hate crime and abuse will not be tolerated.

“Chinese people make a huge contribution to our community and our economy and our officers will continue to do all they can to ensure the safety and welfare of all Chinese people living in our region.

“We are working closely with local universities, who have a large number of Chinese students and also looking closely at the support we have in place to help victims can cope and recover after incidents.”

Cllr Alex Yip (Con), Birmingham city councillor for Sutton Wylde Green, has launched a petition calling for the Government to make a “clear declaration against hate crime against British Chinese and East Asian heritage people”.

The petition on Change.org, titled “Covid-19 Anti-Racism Group (CARG) against racism targeting British East Asian people”, has been signed by more than 4,200 people.

He said despite the high number of reported incidents, there has been a “frustrating” lack of prosecutions and no one has appeared in court for any of the incidents he is aware of.

He said: “Attacks on people who look Chinese because you interpret – through ignorance – an association with Covid-19 are just wrong and abhorrent.”

You can read the full report here.

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