Merton Hate Crime Strategy approved until 2026
Merton Council has approved its Hate Crime Strategy for 2022-26 and will launch it later this year in June as the borough joins with regional and national government, such as working with the Mayor of London, in continuing to take a zero-tolerance approach to this form of crime.
The strategy was informed by consultations with residents, including the council’s Residents Survey, Your Merton consultation and Safer Merton Community Safety Survey, all of which were conducted in 2021.
During 2021, the borough saw a 5% annual increase in hate crime offences – with four-fifths of them racially motivated – and it’s believed that crimes involving groups such as the disabled community are under-reported.
This highlights the need to raise hate crime awareness to give victims the confidence to report them and is a key pillar of our new strategy, which will consist of four strategic aims:
– Preventing hate crime
– Protecting the victim and reducing repeat victimisation
– Providing suited support to people who have experienced or are supporting victims of hate crime
– Developing and implementing an integrated, robust, and coordinated approach to tackling suspected perpetrators
Over the next four years, the Hate Crime Strategy Group will work towards these goals, producing an annual report to illustrate the work done and to set out the priorities going forward. This will be distributed in Merton to raise awareness and provide reassurance that hate crime is a key priority.
During the implementation of the last strategy, such activities were funded as the publishing of information across various platforms, including funding a video on hate crime and how it affects young people developed, scripted and produced by students at Merton College.
It also saw the launch of Merton’s Hate Crime Advice Surgery, a monthly drop in service run in partnership with Tell MAMA and other community partners offering help and support to victims.
Councillor Agatha Akyigyina, Cabinet Member for Partnerships, Public Safety and Tackling Crime, said: “I would like to thank our partners in the statutory, community and voluntary sectors for their continued drive and commitment in responding to victims of hate crime in Merton and working with us to deliver this strategy.
“We are committed to tackling all forms of hate crime and will continue to uphold the message that Merton is a welcoming place for all where hate in any form is not tolerated.
“Merton is proud to be one of the safest boroughs in London and we will continue to work hard, together, to ensure that this position is maintained.”