B&NES Councillors condemn racist attacks


Councillors in B&NES have tonight condemned the recent increase in racism, xenophobia and hate crimes in the wake of the EU referendum result. Many Councillors also wore safety pins to show solidarity with immigrants.

Speaking at the full Council meeting Lib Dem Councillor Lisa Brett (Walcot) gave the following statement:

Lisa_Brett_(small_photo).jpg“Much needs to be done to reassure our communities after the EU referendum.”

“On Monday I had lunch with a friend who lives in a village a few miles outside of Bath, she is a solicitor and, as you would expect from a friend of mine, a feisty, independent woman. She also originated from Nigeria.”

“She told me that last Thursday, the day of the referendum she wasn’t going to vote because she felt was too scared to go to the polling station – there were many ‘Leave’ posters up in her village and the tone of the campaign made her fearful.”

“In the end her husband accompanied her to the polling station and she was able to vote without incident.”

“But in many ways the damage had already been done. Trust and confidence had been lost. And that’s what hate does, it hurts us all, it strikes at the heart of our communities – breaking them down, making people look at one another with suspicion.”

“I know many of you will have had close friends affected by the recent rise in hate crime; I know my ward colleague Cllr. Darey had an old school friend verbally abused last week – this upset her as well as the victim.”

“It doesn’t matter if you’re on the IN or OUT side of the EU debate, we need to act now to break down the barriers and to build stronger and safer communities.”

“It’s also so important that the council and police know the exact extent of hate crime in the area in order to respond to it and to provide targeted interventions and victim support. That’s why I’m calling on the Council to work with the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner to encourage the reporting of all hate crimes, including third party reporting.”

“A campaign to encourage the reporting of hate crime will also make it clear to would-be perpetrators that the law hasn’t changed, hate crimes are still illegal, and we will still take these matters very, very seriously.”

“So as community representatives and leaders, let us work together to ensure our residents are reassured that no matter who you are, or how you voted in the referendum, we take tackling hate crime very seriously.”


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