The Prime Minister has called hate crime “unacceptable in 21st century Britain” in a letter of support for Hate Crime Awareness Week.
In his letter, David Cameron said the week reminds everyone they need to continually confront hate crime as well as remember those who have fallen victim to such crimes.
National Hate Crime Awareness Week is held each year to raise the profile of hate crime and encourage local authorities to work with local communities affected by hate crime.
In his letter, the Prime Minister wrote:
Hate Crime Awareness Week is an important reminder of the need to continually confront hate crime and take every opportunity to celebrate diversity in Great Britain.
It is also a chance to remember those who have been a victim of these despicable crimes and champion people who make it their duty to challenge intolerance and hatred.
Crime in all its forms is wrong, but to persecute people purely because of their background, gender, creed, sexual orientation or physical and mental ability is utterly abhorrent. From 2013-2014, there were more than 44,000 hate crimes recorded by the police – an increase of 5%. This is unacceptable in a 21st century Britain.
For too long, we’ve been so frightened of causing offence that we haven’t looked hard enough at what is going on in our communities. In too many cases there has been a passive tolerance in Britain of behaviour which fuels division and tensions in our communities.
So let me be clear: no more passive tolerance in Britain. We all have a responsibility to stop this hatred: whether it is as simple as challenging the attitudes and behaviour that foster such prejudice at a young age or backing communities so they feel they have the tools to speak out against hatred.
The government has a crucial role to play in this too, which is why we have one of the strongest legislative frameworks in the world to continue to protect communities from hostility, violence and bigotry.
So we will continue to support communities and charities like Stop Hate UK and 17-24-30 so that victims are heard, perpetrators face justice and communities are protected.
Over generations, we have built something extraordinary in Britain – a successful multi-racial, multi-faith democracy. Our diversity makes us stronger and my one-nation government will go on working hard to end discrimination and finish the fight for real equality in our country today.
The letter came as the Prime Minister hosted the first meeting of the new Community Engagement Forum to discuss countering extremism.
He also announced that for the first time, police forces in England and Wales will be asked to record anti-Muslim hate crimes as a specific category in the recorded crime statistics, bringing them in line with reporting of anti-Semitic attacks.