London’s Mayor ‘failing legal duties on disability hate crime’


Leading campaigners say they are shocked and disappointed at the London Mayor’s failure to set a target around disability hate crime in his official equality document.

Andrew Little, chief executive of Inclusion London, the capital’s new pan-disability organisation, said he was “shocked” that the equality document omits any mention of tackling disablist hate crime even though it mentions race, homophobic and faith hate crime.

And Ruth Bashall, co-chair of the Disability Independent Advisory Group (DIAG) to the Metropolitan police, said she was “very disappointed” at the failure by the Mayor, Boris Johnson.

In the document setting out his equality framework, Equal Life Chances for All, Johnson sets out a number of “desired outcomes”, one of which relates to the police’s hate crime detection rates.

The document says the desired result on hate crime is: “Increase in the sanction detection rate [detections that lead to official action such as a caution or court hearing]following reports of homophobic, racial and faith hate crimes.”

But there is no mention of disability hate crime, despite huge publicity on the issue in the last two years and work done by the Met and campaigners such as DIAG, Disability Now magazine and the UK’s Disabled People’s Council.

Little said: “Given compelling evidence of the terrible reality of hate crime experienced by disabled people, Inclusion London calls on Mayor Johnson to address hate crime against disabled people in his equality priorities and to amend his policy accordingly.”

Bashall said it was “absolutely clear” the Mayor was 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.

She said the Mayor should be taking the lead on the issue as chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority, including engaging with disabled people’s organisations.

She said the Met was doing some good work on disability hate crime so it was “a shame that the Mayor has not caught up with what is going on on the ground”.

No-one from the Mayor’s office was available to comment.

24 August 2009

Share this post: