Group claims Rugby seeing rise in racist incidents since referendum

The sticker seen on Dunchurch Road near the junction with Overslade Lane, with Harris School in the background. NNL-160507-115448001
The sticker seen on Dunchurch Road near the junction with Overslade Lane, with Harris School in the background. NNL-160507-115448001
1
Have your say

The Rugby Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has spoken out about a rise in racist incidents in Rugby since the EU referendum

Warwickshire Police Chief Constable Martin Jelley said last Thursday: “We have not seen an increase currently in reports of racially aggravated incidents in Warwickshire in the days immediately following the EU referendum.”

But TUSC spokesperson Pete McLaren said today, Tuesday: “Rugby TUSC has been contacted by local residents very concerned about evidence of racism and intolerance that has occurred during or immediately after the EU referendum campaign here in Rugby.

“Mr Jelley may well be right, but only because such crimes have not actually been reported to them.”

Mr McLaren said they have been told about the following over the weekend:

- The recent appearance of stickers on lamp posts in the Overslade/Rokeby area saying ‘Kill a Muslim’ and ‘Kill a n****r’. Mr McLaren saw on Saturday a hand written sticker on a lamp post on Dunchurch Road, right opposite the entrance to Overslade Lane, stating ‘Kill all Migrants’.

- Handwritten stickers on a lamp post by the park nearby in Southbrook Road, most of which had been wiped out by the rain, but with a still visible notice saying ‘Kill Scum’. He said they can only guess who was being called ‘scum’. - Small printed stickers in Lytham Road and on nearby Bilton Road saying ‘Immigrants Out’ and ‘Immigrants not welcome’. Mr McLaren said TUSC was told these have only appeared since June 23.

He added: “To put this into context, a Spanish born TUSC supporter who lives and work in Rugby, and wishes to remain anonymous, has told one of our members that, for the first time in the 12 years she has lived here, she has been made to feel unwelcome. Despite saying to her ‘We don’t mean you of course,’ she now feels scared about the future – and she puts this anti-immigrant sentiment down to those who voted to Leave the EU

“There was also a report on Sky News last week that a Romanian woman who has lived in Rugby for 13 years received racist abuse on her Facebook page the day after Brexit, saying she wasn’t welcome here. She said she had not experienced anything like this before the referendum

“Although most people who voted Leave are not racist, and would, of course, not support the hate crimes we have come across, the vote to Leave was heavily influenced by the far right.

“This was largely around a demand to control or end immigration, and the result of the referendum seems to have encouraged a minority of the bigoted, the intolerant and the racists to show their true colours and incite hate and division both locally and nationally.

“The people of Rugby are generally kind, tolerant and welcoming and would not support acts like this. We urge anyone who sees or comes across any examples of hate crimes to report them immediately – as we are doing regarding the incidents outlined above.

“With the country in political crisis following the referendum, and a potential political vacuum existing, we must make sure that intolerance is stamped out and that all immigrants are welcomed.”

In his statement last week, Mr Jelley also said: “We will monitor the situation and our Safer Neighbourhood Teams are continuing their valuable local engagement work with those communities who do feel vulnerable.

“Hate crime is not tolerated in Warwickshire and we will do everything within our power to ensure that offenders are dealt with appropriately. All reports to us are thoroughly investigated and the care and support of victims is at the heart of all that we do.”

Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: “Hate crime, racial abuse or harassment of any kind is simply unacceptable - whatever the motivation behind it may be. It is understandable that communities may be feeling concerned following reports of such behaviour from around the country in recent days but I am reassured that Warwickshire Police will deal quickly and robustly with anyone responsible for hate crimes. I would urge anyone who feels as though they have been a victim of hate crime to come forward and report it to the police so they can take action.”

If you have been a victim or are witness to a hate crime, please report it by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency. Every report of a hate crime or a hate incident will receive a police response.

More information about how Warwickshire Police is tackling hate crime can be found at: www.warwickshire.police.uk/hate-crime