With homophobic hate crimes in London increasing every year since 2015, how are you working to tackle this, and would you agree that homophobia should be considered an aggravated crime in line with racial and religious hate crimes?
I have been clear throughout my Mayoralty that I will not tolerate hate crime against any of London’s communities, and have committed more funds to combatting it than any other Mayor. Both MOPAC and the MPS undertake a significant amount of stakeholder engagement with London’s LGBT+ communities to ensure their voice is heard in terms of the police response and how we support those subjected to homophobic hate crime.
The London LGBT+ anti-violence charity Galop works closely with MOPAC and the police in developing our response to hate crime. They also play a significant role in providing victim services funded by MOPAC. In recognition of the importance of this work I recently doubled the funding for the CATCH hate crime advocacy service, in which Galop is a lead partner, enabling it to support up to 900 victims this year.
As part of its response to the rise in homophobic hate crime the MPS has launched a new voluntary role of LGBT+ advisor. This cohort of over 160 officers and staff will engage with LGBT+ communities at a grassroots level and, alongside the Hate Crime Liaison Officers who work with local hate crime organisations in every London borough, offer learning and development within the MPS and reassure communities, building trust and confidence to report hate crime.