Mayor to face police authority hate crime questions


A leading disabled activist is to question publicly Boris Johnson’s failure to mention disability hate crime in his equality plan for London.

Anne Novis will raise the issue in her role as the United Kingdom’s Disabled People’s Council (UKDPC) representative on the Metropolitan Police Authority’s (MPA) hate crime forum.

She will ask why London’s mayor failed to set any targets for disability hate crime in his new equality framework, Equal Life Chances for All.

Johnson’s document calls for an increase in the number of reports of homophobic, race and faith hate crimes which lead to official actions such as cautions or court hearings.

But there is no mention of tackling disability hate crime, despite huge publicity on the issue in the last two years and work done by groups such as UKDPC and the Met’s disability independent advisory group (DIAG).

Novis said: “I will question in the MPA hate crime forum why there are no targets [on disability hate crime]in the mayor’s framework.

“The mayor chairs the MPA. He needs to be reminded that he has access to the information that there are very low detection rates for disability-related hate crimes and other disability-related crime.

“Sanction detection rates [those cases that lead to some kind of official criminal justice action]for disability hate crime are much lower than for other hate crimes. That is from work done by the MPA in the last year.”

Andrew Little, chief executive of Inclusion London, the capital’s new pan-disability organisation, has already called on the mayor to amend his equality framework.

And Ruth Bashall, co-chair of DIAG, has accused the mayor of failing in his “moral responsibility to tackle hate crime against disabled Londoners” and in his legal duty to address disability-related harassment through the Disability Discrimination Act’s disability equality duty.

A Met spokeswoman confirmed that the force does record disability hate crimes, including the number of sanction detections. 

She said: “We do definitely record it. In terms of why it is not included in that paper, that question has to be answered by the mayor’s office.”

Despite being contacted repeatedly, the mayor’s office again failed to explain why it had not included a disability hate crime target in the equality framework.

16 September 2009