Politicians should tone down Euro vote speeches to avoid stoking hate crime says police chief
Politicians should tone down their language to avoid inciting hatred ahead of the this week, the country‘s most senior police officer on hate crimes has warned.
The National Police Chiefs‘ Council lead for hate crime, Mark Hamilton, said the mood at the moment in ‘incredibly febrile‘ and wants MEP candidates and party leaders to be mindful of their language.
His comments come just days before the European Elections where the new Party led by will look to shake up the established order and Tommy Robinson‘s campaign has been marked by protests.
Mr Hamilton, who is also the assistant chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, told : ‘Tensions are being stoked on a national level around our relationship with Europe, about cultural identity and about immigration more broadly.
‘In any scenario like this it’s incumbent on people with a public voice to think carefully about how they express views so they don’t incite hatred.
‘There is a responsibility on those who have a platform to think of the impact their words might have on others and to not inflame tensions or inspire actions which could turn criminal.‘
Yesterday, violent clashes broke out at a Tommy Robinson campaign as masked supporters clashed with crowds shouting ‘racist scum‘.
Bricks were thrown and two police cars were damaged as the rival groups gathered in Oldham, Greater Manchester.
His campaign has been marked by confrontations after protesters threw milkshake over the MEP candidate, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon.
Mr Hamilton‘s comments reflect an ongoing rise in the number of reported hate crime incidents since the Brexit vote in June 2016.
There were a reported 94,000 hate crime offences committed in England and Wales in the year up to March 2018, an increase of 17 per cent on the previous year.
Last week a man was jailed for writing ‘no blacks‘ on the door of a family home in Salford.
Vaughan Dowd, 54, maintained he was not racist and his defence lawyer said: ‘Brexit and immigration was playing on his mind.‘
In the days leading up to the referendum in June 2016, a man shot and stabbed Labour MP Jo Cox as he shouted ‘Britain first‘.
And on Friday, far-right paedophile Jack Renshaw was jailed for plotting to murder Labour MP Rosie Cooper.
Bashy Quraishy, the secretary general of the Denmark-based European Muslim Initiative for Social Cohesion, has said the emboldening of the far-right in the UK has ramifications across Europe.