Hackney group shines light on East and Southeast Asian discrimination in UK

Members of Hackney Chinese Community Services based near London Fields

Members of Hackney Chinese Community Services based near London Fields - Credit: HCCS

A Hackney organisation has produced the first report of its kind highlighting the discrimination East and Southeast Asian (ESEA) people face in the UK. 

The Hackney Chinese Community Services (HCCS) report calls for the adoption of ESEA as an ethnic category across police data collection, along with other recommendations to improve the way hate crimes are dealt with by police forces across the country.

Its publication follows a surge in ESEA hate crimes at the onset of the pandemic, preceded by more gradual increases. 

Jabez Lam, from HCCS, says that while the number of these crimes has decreased since the spike in March 2020, case rates remain high, 62 per cent higher than pre-Covid levels in London - according to Met figures. 

He said: "Because these kinds of attacks are no longer occupying media headlines, people have the perception it must be levelling out but the figure shows its still 60pc higher.

"It needs a continuous focus in order to bring it down."

Jabez Lam has campaigned for equal rights for over 30 years and founded Chinese civil rights organis

Jabez Lam has campaigned for equal rights for over 30 years and founded Chinese civil rights organisation Min Quan. Picture: Maria Garbutt-Lucero - Credit: Maria Garbutt-Lucero

A 2021 Commons Library briefing paper showed that between 2019 and 2020 there was a 27pc rise in hate crimes against ESEA people living in the UK, increasing from 1,742 to 2,212. 

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The report describes the data collected by police forces as "patchy", finding only three out of five of the police forces contact for an FOI request could provide the number of hate crime cases against ESEA people.

Many could not however, provide the outcomes of those cases. 

The publication states: "It is not possible to identify and do a robust comparison of hate crime cases against ESEA in the UK by counties with this lack of data collection by police forces.

"This results in the inability to analyse issues and identify solutions on what improvements are needed in combatting hate crime on a national level."

Jabez says more robust data is needed to "build confidence" so that members of the ESEA community feel crimes are being looked into. 

He added: "All we need is accurate information so the community can be informed and understand that by going to police, not all cases will result in a charge, but that the issues are being investigated at least."

A nation-wide survey conducted by HCCS, from February to April 2021, found that out of 112 ESEA victims of hate crime, only 14pc reported the offence.

Key reasons given for not reporting included "feeling that the incident was minor" and that "police would not be able to help", along with the "perception of police racism". 

Out of the 14pc who did report a hate incident, only 40pc of cases were acted upon and of those looked into, over 75pc of people reported no action being taken against the alleged perpetrator. 

The Met was one of several police forces analysed in the report.

Hackney Chinese Community Services members celebrating the Lunar New Year

Hackney Chinese Community Services members celebrating the Lunar New Year - Credit: HCCS

From March 2018 to August 2021, it had an average Investigation Unsuccessful Rate (IUR) for ESEA hate crimes of 35pc. 

The Investigation Unsuccessful Rate (IUR) is found by dividing the total number of unsuccessful investigation cases, defined by a perpetrator being identified but not charged or summoned, with the total number of complete investigation cases.

Though the report notes that the rate has improved over time, despite a backlog in cases. 

Jabez says HCCS is working with police leaders to improve the way hate crimes are dealt with across police forces, as well as the way data is collected. 

In response to the report and its recommendations, a Home Office spokesperson said hate crime is "unacceptable": "The government’s Hate Crime Action plan has helped improve the police response to, and public awareness of, all forms of hate crime."

The spokesperson says the Home Office is working on this issue, "with the Crime Survey for England and Wales showing a long-term decline in hate crime". 

They added: "Increases in police recorded hate crime is driven by improvements in crime recording and a better indication of what constitutes a hate crime.”

The Home Office has begun collecting the ethnicity of victims of racial hate crimes since April 2021. That data will be published in forthcoming hate crime statistical bulletins.

The Met police was contacted for comment but referred the Gazette to the Home Office and National Police Chief's Council, who have also been contacted. 

To read the full report visit www.hackneychinese.org.uk/post/esea-hate-crime-report-by-hccs