There is no single definition of hate crime, but in the U.K the term “hate crime” is defined by the Police and CPS, as “a range of criminal behaviour where the perpetrator is motivated by hostility or demonstrates hostility towards the victim’s disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity.”
In Scotland the term ” hate crime” is defined slightly differently as ” a crime committed against a person or property that is motivated by malice or ill- will towards an identifiable social group”.
It’s ironic the very reasons that gave migrants refugee status in the U.K, and thus protection here , due to persecution they experienced in their countries of nationality or residence, for reasons of race, religion, nationality and membership of a particular social group, have become the same reasons quoted by migrant communities in the U.K. used by Britains to perpetrate hate crime against them.
The Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees 1951 and its 1967 protocol afforded protection in the U.K. to those who were outside their country of nationality and either were unable or unwilling to return there for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion .
Hate crime did not start recently ; it’s been with us for decades manifesting itself rather more prominently in the late 1940’s after Indian independence in 1947 , and in the 1950’s when those from the commonwealth countries and the West Indies were invited to the UK to work in the new NHS service, in transport and other industries. They brought with them their customs and culture, as they arrived and brought their families , and the dislike of the Britons for their food and general way of life, led to separate canteens and lavatories in work places.
Prosecuting for hate crime under our criminal law is not easy. The police need to be satisfied that the incident complained of has reached the threshold of a crime from an incident, and that the commission of that crime is beyond reasonable doubt, before they send the file to the CPS to consider a prosecution.
To show how difficult it is to secure conviction, I would refer to the conviction of Amjam Choudary a British Islamist social and political activist convicted for hate crime against the establishment , the British people and the country that gave him everything. He was eventually convicted under the Terrorism Act 2000 and sent to prison .He has also been referred to as the Islamic hate preacher. It took many years and at at huge public expense to imprison him here. The same can be said of Abu Hamza, who was another hate preacher , ranting menacingly with hate in support of Islamic extremism. It took Teresa May then Home Secretary nearly 10 years to secure his conviction and deportation to New York on terrorism charges.
Successive hate incidents can culminate into a hate crime. So it’s important to report hate incidents to the police in order to build a profile of the perpetrator.
Hate crime has thus impacted on migrant communities and refugees, by encouraging them to live in communities populated by persons of their own culture, race or religion, where they feel more secure, by putting them on guard in their own areas and deploying vigilante groups to protect them, by encouraging Islamic extremism by those who feel western society where there fled to has wronged them and let them down, by creating far right groups advocating to make life as difficult as possible for migrants here, and by leading in some way to Brexit and the 23rd June 2016 referendum. It can also be said hate crime against Britons and by Britains against migrants and refugees was one of the reasons for the start up of UKIP whose influence led to the June 2016 referendum resulting to over 51 percent of those voting doing so to leave the EU.
Those Britains aggrieved by a substantial increase in population ( UK about 66 million as opposed to Australia, 24 million and Canada 34 million), with the knock on effect on housing , education and the NHS , commit hate crime because they blame the increase in migrant communities and refugees for these ills.
So communities in Southall , East Ham and Newham have become populated with migrant communities from India, Pakistan , Bangladesh and others, where they feel safe because of perpetrated hate crime against community members. Whereas communities in Barnet , Hendon and Golders Green and Stamford Hill in London are populated by Jews who have suffered and continue to suffer anti-semitic hatred.
The Brexit referendum was to a certain extent fought based on the hatred of EEA nationals who were said to be too many in number in the U.K , with the warped idea they were taking away the jobs of the Britains. This resulted in the current catastrophic consequences , and with EU nationals feeling unsafe here, many decided to leave. This created a Lacuna in specialist spheres such as radiology, specialist nurses, consultants who have felt unwelcome. The children of some have been branded by their peers as foreigners who should not be here, and this bullying and hatred has made EU nationals feel they are not appreciated here, thus looking for greener pastures elsewhere.
The lacuna has left many unfilled vacancies, which the Home Secretary, Sajid Javed is trying now to fill by lifting the cap on non EU migrant doctors and highly skilled nurses and other medics , to come to the aid of the NHS which is suffering from the created shortages.
Whilst I agree there must be measured controlled migration to the UK, and those here illegally should either be granted an amnesty or be removed, the hatred towards foreign nationals and their hatred towards the Britains must cease so that communities can live in peace and harmony. This is a country where a person can say what they want and wear what they want, and in my view the most democratic society in the world, where people want to settle and make their home. So let us make them welcome so they feel wanted.
Dr Bernard Andonian – the Co-Founder of Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, is an experienced Immigration Solicitor, former Judge, and recipient of a PhD in Law from the University of West London. He has over four decades of experience practising UK Immigration, Human Rights and Civil Litigation Law. He has served on the Law Society Immigration Law Panel, achieved numerous groundbreaking decisions in higher courts and is featured in the Legal 500’s Hall of Fame.