Brexit Deadline Looming Could Mean More Hate Crimes, Says Nottingham Campaigner

13 March 2019, 10:15 | Updated: 13 March 2019, 10:24

Hate crime

A hate crime campaigner in Nottingham has told Capital she's worried there could be more hate crimes as the Brexit deadline looms.

The UK is due to leave the EU in 16 days on Friday 29 March 2019, and after last night's House of Commons defeat of Theresa May's deal, there will be votes now on whether to allow a no-deal Brexit or to extend the Article 50 deadline to allow more time to secure a deal.

But, there is concern that more hate crimes on communities like EU nationals and other minorities could increase as the deadline gets closer. 

Nottingham-based social-enterprise Communities Inc. says it is starting a campaign to stop people just allowing hate crimes to happen.

Known as National Bystander Awareness Day, the group wants to make sure that people know how to intervene safely. 

Director Shamsher Chohan says it's about Seeing it, Reporting it and then Supporting the victim.

She told Capital: "As we were putting this project together, we spoke to a number of communities, particularly diverse communities, and asked them if they felt safer now than after the EU referendum.

"The overwhelming response was that whilst there was no severe panic, there was concern and caution.

"We did see a spike in the figures in 2016, and we do see that whenever Brexit is just in the news, so it would be reasonable to assume that some of those tensions are still there and that those fears are there as we approach March 29th."

She continued: "Local communities can be powerful allies in tackling hate, but they often lack knowledge about what they can do, and they are concerned about their own safety.

"See, Report, Support addressed these barriers. Tackling hate should be on everyone’s agenda as it is damaging not just to individuals but entire communities."