Reports of ‘hate incidents’ every day in South Kesteven
A ‘hate incident’ is said to happen in South Kesteven every day.
The claim comes in a district council report on ‘community cohesion’ which reports growing numbers of ‘hate crimes’ and acts of anti-social behaviour.
Police reported 27 ‘hate crime’ incidents during April-October 2016, rising to 32 over the same period last year suggesting “there is no real issue.”
But the report noted: “Direct interactions with people with disabilities and foreign nationals, however, tell a different story with hate incidents taking place on a daily basis that are not reported for fear of reprisal.”
The report also revealed higher numbers of inconsiderate behaviour (760 recorded during April-October 2016, with 838 recorded over the same period last year). Neighbourly disputes also increased from 239 during April to October 2016, to 274 in the same period of 2017.
It said: “Whilst these figures alone do not give us definitive evidence of a lack of social cohesion they do give a possible indication of increasing intolerance within our communities.”
The report said intolerance “can take place in any community” noting traditional tensions between young and old, the increased diversity of migrant communities and hate crimes against the disabled. Tensions may also arise from worklessness and poverty.
SKDC began targeted studies on these groups last May.
The district has 30,799 residents with a disabling condition, including 19,878 with mental health problems, 2,105 with a serious diability and 1,957 with a learning diability.
The report also highlighted areas with the most young, the most old and areas with the most jobless and claiming free school meals.
Research also revealed a growing diversity of population, noting a Celebrate the Nations event in Grantham attracted 26 different nationalities.
White British made up an estimated 125,278 of the 140,190 population of South Kesteven in 2017, with Other White (mainly East Europeans) totalling 4,597. Other sizeable communities included Chinese, Indians, African and mixed-race peoples.
After English, Polish was the most common language spoken, with South Kesteven having 1,287 Polish speakers, 360 Lithuanian speakers and 359 who speak Portuguese.
But the report said migration from overseas to the UK was declining, with the South Kesteven Migrant Work Forum saying some East Europeans were going home to other EU countries blaming uncertainty over Brexit.
The report added South Kesteven had worked with councils in Lincoln and Peterborough, where problems of community cohesion are greater, with them having experts to help tackle them.
Their support has “proved really useful in helping frame a potential way forward for this council in its emerging community cohesion agenda.”
The report, for Wednesday’s meeting of the Communities and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee, asked for members to determine future research in a new area for the district and can be funded externally.
It added: “South Kesteven is a safe place to live and work. There is limited intelligence to show tangible implications in relation to crime and disorder, however, the rise in incidents of inconsiderate behaviour and contradictory evidence relating to hate crime should be taken into account when determining a way forward.”