Recorded Hate Crime Rises By 9% in a Year in Merton

Spike in racist offences following the murder of George Floyd

Black Lives Matter protest in Hyde Park
Black Lives Matter protest in Hyde Park. Picture: Katie Crampton (WMUK)

September 8, 2021

Nearly 400 hate crimes were recorded in Merton in a year that was spent living in lockdown and under coronavirus restrictions.

The highest number was in July 2020 when 50 hate crimes were recorded, more than 40 of which were racist.

Overall 392 hate crimes were recorded between April 2020 and March 2021, this is a nine per cent increase on the previous year.

The data was collated by Safer Merton, a partnership which aims to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in the borough.

At a meeting on Tuesday (September 7) community resilience officer, Katy Saunders, said, “There was a spike around June and July time last year with the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement it then tracks downwards which is when we went into lockdown it’s been going up to more normal levels as we came out of lockdown in March.

“Racial hate crime is by far the most common strand of hate crime in Merton and that is reflected in London.

“We’ve seen a steady rise in hate crimes being reported over the past few years it is a question as to whether more hate crimes are being committed and more people have the confidence to come forward and report these to police.”

But Councillor Omar Bush feared that the true figure could be far higher, and said it is vital to engage with young people.

He said, “When the George Floyd incident took place, at the rallies the majority of people were under 30.

“I think these are the people that aren’t coming forward to record hate crimes, so I’d hate to imagine what the real figure would look like.”

Tara O'Connor - Local Democracy Reporter