Hate crime rises in Barnet since Brexit vote

By Adrian Colley in Community News

Racist and religious hate crime rose by 30 per cent in a year in Barnet, a report on Brexit says.

The number of incidents rose to 717 in the 12 months to March this year, up from 552 on the previous 12 months. The increase reflects the overall London rise over the same period.

“Following the referendum there was an increase in reported racist and religious hate crime nationally and in London,” says the report to the policy and resources committee.

“Barnet also experienced an increase in the rate of reported racist and religious hate crime in the two-week period following the referendum but by the third week levels had dropped back.”

Even so, the Barnet rate is ’considerably’ below the London average the report adds.

It says: “Should any community tension issues arise or be identified the police and council are ready to take any action necessary in coordination with the Communities Together Network and Barnet multi-faith forum.”

The figures emerged as part of Barnet Council’s response to the vote in June last year to leave the European Union.

Last year the council decided to consider the impact of Brexit on Barnet so that it “can be communicated to Barnet’s three Conservative MPs in order that they can raise these issues in parliamentary debates and fight for the best outcomes for the borough.”

As a result, the council gathers information from organisations such as the police, businesses and ’strategic partners’ and puts them in a report.

Other findings flagged up to councillors include:

* A residents’ survey on community cohesion showed a dip from 85 to 81 per cent of Barnet residents agreeing that people from different backgrounds get on well together.

* The average house price in Barnet has increased 4.5 per cent since November to £532,884.

* There was a huge increase in building with a start made on building 670 homes in the first three months of this year.

* Middlesex University, where 15 per cent of staff and 15 per cent of students are from the EU and student fees total £19m a year, is working to mitigate the risks Brexit poses to it.

* Barnet hospitality businesses are finding it hard recruit from EU countries as the pound weakens.

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