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Hackney London Borough Council recruits hate crime champions

Hate crime champions are to be recruited in Hackney in a council drive to keep people safe.

Residents from across the borough’s community will be asked to get involved.

There were 1,077 hate crimes in Hackney between November 2022 and October 2023, Met Police figures show.

Susan Fajana-Thomas, Hackney Council’s cabinet member for community safety, said champions would be “a visible, supporting presence” in the area.

She said they would be a “main point of contact” for residents wanting to discuss a hate crime or get advice, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The new scheme will be launched in March 2024 and is part of Hackney Council’s new hate crime strategy agreed by the cabinet on Monday.

The Met Police and council increased community safety patrols in the borough after the Israel-Gaza war began to reassure Jewish and Muslim communities.

Antisemitic hate crimes in Hackney increased by 318% between September and October, when police recorded 67 incidents.

Red paint was daubed outside two Jewish schools in Woodberry Down and Lordship Road.

During the same period police recorded a 350% increase in Islamophobic hate crime in Hackney, with nine incidents reported to them.

Mayor Caroline Woodley told the cabinet meeting: “We will never allow prejudice to divide our communities.

“We need to be good neighbours, show solidarity and learn how to be safely active bystanders whenever we see someone subjected to abuse.”

Hackney Council is also setting up a hate crime forum made up of community members to discuss concerns and deal with them, as part of its hate crime strategy.