Race hate on city council agenda as number of incidents increases

Coun David Smith.

Coun David Smith.

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Incidents of race hate have prompted city councillors to make promises to condemn racism and work together in a bid to eradicate the crime.

Green councillors said in a statement due to be put forward at tomorrow evening’s full council meeting that “a few racial/hate crime incidents” had been reported since the EU referendum.

One such alleged incident, of an Asian family being spat as as they waited at Lancaster traffic lights in their car, was also recently reported to the national StreetWatch website.

A statement from Green councillors Caroline Jackson, Tim-HamiltonCox and Rebecca Novell said: “It is regrettable that a few racial/hate crime incidents have been reported in the district since the EU referendum but that the police service is confident that previous outreach and confidence-building work means that members of our communities are more willing to report incidents.”

They asked councillors to agree to condemn racism, xenophobia and hate crimes unequivocally and vow to work to ensure local bodies and programmes are supported to fight and prevent racism and xenophobia.

Meanwhile, Labour councillors David Smith, Karen Leytham and Sam Armstrong issued a joint statement stating that they wished to work with other bodies, Community Safety Partnership, Communities Together, Lancashire County Council, town and parish councils to challenge such behaviour and prevent such crimes.

Coun Smith said: “Everyone living and working in the Lancaster district is a valued member of our society and has a right to be treated with respect. By and large we do live in a diverse and tolerant country but recent reports of hate crime in our district, although perpetrated by a tiny minority, are a real concern.

“That is why I want us to reaffirm our commitment to working through the community safety partnership and with other local organisations and groups to challenge racist and xenophobic behaviour.”

Conservative group leader Peter Williamson said: “Lancaster is a warm and welcoming place to live and there is no place for racist abuse or hate in the district.”

“The Conservative group will lead any campaign to fight race hate abuse and attacks.”

“Now is the time to act. We want Lancaster to lead by example, as the most tolerant and welcoming area in the north west.”