Transphobic hate crimes on the rise in Brighton and Hove

Hate Crime Figures 2019
Hate Crime Figures 2019

The number of transphobic hate ‘incidents and crimes’ went up 43 per cent in the past year, councillors were told on Monday (July 1).

“Disability motivated” incidents and crimes rose by 27 per cent, those that were religiously motivated went up 10 per cent and there were two per cent more racist crimes.

The overall numbers were small – 108 cases in the past year – with ‘homophobic incidents and crimes’ down 5 per cent.

And of the 108 hate crime cases to reach court, 101 resulted in a conviction.

The figures were presented to a Brighton and Hove City Council committee at Hove Town Hall this week.

And members of the council’s neighbourhoods, inclusion, communities and equalities committee agreed that ‘given the sharp rise in recorded hate crime against our trans community both locally and nationally’ to ensure new councillors were given ‘trans awareness training’.

Green councillor Steph Powell said: “We have a rise in hatred across the UK and across the world.

“If we do not protect the most vulnerable and keep our eye on the ball with the trans community, disabled people and race issues, we have lost it.”

Her fellow Green councillor Marianna Ebel said that Brighton and Hove was a city of sanctuary and should be a safe space.

Conservative councillor Dee Simson was concerned that homophobic hate crime was not always recorded.

She said that the message that she was getting from the streets were that things were worse than ever before.

Councillor Simson said: “Men I’ve spoken to have been attacked and are not part of the LGBT community but clearly the crime against them is against that community. I’m concerned how it is reported.”

Superintendent Ed De La Rue, from Sussex Police, told the committee that the force operated a policy of recording crime based on perception.

This meant that if a victim, witness or a police officer believed that a crime might be homophobic, then it would be recorded that way, subject to evidence to the contrary.

Green councillor Hannah Clare and Labour councillor Clare Moonan spoke about ‘reporting fatigue’.

Councillor Clare said that she had received five complaints about crime and anti-social behaviour in her Brunswick and Adelaide ward over the past weekend but residents said that they could not get through using the 101 non-emergency number.

And Councillor Moonan said that she was concerned about a lack of action. She said: “It feels like reports go into a black hole and nothing happens.

“If we heard something about it, then we would know something is done.”

She blamed austerity and cuts for rising crime and said: “This is what happens when you cut services. You see increases in crime rates.

“We are in an increasingly dangerous country and dangerous city with a perception of fear that we are not in a good place that concerns me.”

Conservative councillor Alistair McNair was concerned about the increase in violent crime and said that violence was an alarming word.

Superintendent De La Rue said that ‘violent’ crimes included everything from murder to causing death by dangerous driving as well as offences such as stalking and harassment.

Another Conservative councillor, Samer Bagaeen, asked about ‘modern slavery’. He was concerned that there might be cases of trafficking in the Circus Street development where the council is a partner.

The site has been raided by immigration enforcement officers – but the council has a ‘modern slavery co-ordinator’ to ensure that the council meets it statutory obligations.

The council’s executive director of neighbourhoods, communities and housing, Larissa Reed, said that every development had been checked.

She said that modern slavery was not an issue at the Circus Street site adding that it had been more to do with illegal workers.