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Last Updated: Monday, 30 January 2006, 13:09 GMT
Fall in London faith hate crimes
Attacks on Muslims soared after the London bombings
Faith hate crimes in London have fallen below their level a year ago for the first time since last July's London bombings, police figures suggest.

There were 24 such crimes reported in January 2006, fewer than half as many as the same month in 2005.

A Met police spokeswoman said the drop reflected efforts to reduce such crime in the wake of the bombings.

But a spokesman for the Muslim Safety Forum said the drop could be due to under-reporting.

In spite of police efforts to encourage people to come forward there were still 'pockets of issues' which led to under-reporting, said the spokesman, Azad Ali.

"As a forum we are aware of a lot of fear about reporting crime to the police. The reassurance that the public needs to report hate crime, and Islamophobia particularly, hasn't really reached the level it needs to," Mr Ali said.

Specialist units

Faith-hate crimes in London reported to the police fell from a peak of over 300 in July 2005 to 24 in January 2006, out of a total of 734 hate crimes in January.

However, the annual figure showed an increase in religiously-motivated incidents of more than a third whereas reported hate crime overall fell by more than half.

In the aftermath of the 7 July attacks the Metropolitan police set up a dedicated unit to liaise with minority communities and encourage the reporting of hate crime.

More than 30 specialist community safety units have been set up across London with specially-trained investigators tackling hate crime.

However, the Met acknowledges there is still under-reporting of faith-hate crime and hate crime in general.

"We urge people to report all hate crime and we have been working with a range of community organisations from a range of different cultures across London to set up third party reporting schemes," the spokeswoman said.




SEE ALSO:
Hate crimes soar after bombings
04 Aug 05 |  London


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