Sikh activist questions hate crime reporting process by Devon and Cornwall Police

An activist from the Devon Sikh community asked why the alleged crimes cannot be recorded under his own ethnicity.

Cllr Chaz Singh, who represents the Drake Ward in Plymouth, raised the issue as a member of the public at the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Panel meeting last Friday.

Many British Sikhs have campaigned to be identified as an ethnic group rather than just a religion, but last year the Sikh Federation UK’s judicial review to register Sikhs as an ethnicity was rejected by the High Court.

Cllr Singh said: “I would like to express my concerns about the inability to register my ethnicity when recording a hate crime.

“When I have reported a hate crime and he asks me what my ethnicity is, that doesn’t give me a choice. ”

An earlier version of this article indicated that Chaz Singh called on the police and the region’s crime commissioner to take Sikh victims of hate crimes more seriously. This was not said at the meeting. PlymouthLive apologizes for this and is happy to set the record straight.

Cllr Singh said the hate crime data collection is inaccurate because Sikhs are unable to identify themselves in this way.

“If in 12 months I want to know the number of hate crimes against the Sikh community or the level of Islamophobia, the police will not be able to tell me,” he said.

In response, Ms Hernandez said: “Devon and Cornwall Police are following the Office of National Statistics and government guidelines as to what to record and how it is recorded.”

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service after the CCP panel meeting, Cllr Singh explained that in February 2021, he went to take pictures of trash thrown on the Hoe Approach and confronted a man urinating on the street. . Cllr Singh said the man turned to him and called him “Dirty f ****** p ***”.

After being asked to report the crime, Cllr Singh went online and found that he was unable to identify as a Sikh in the options offered.

He said the “Asian” category was not specific enough and covered too many groups.

CCP Hernandez said, “What we encourage people to do is use free text boxes when reporting a crime. If you are doing it online, you can use the free text box to put anything that you think is particularly important to you in this report.

However, Cllr Singh said it was a “police exit” as it was the first time he had heard of the “free text” area in the 20 years he lived here.

Ms Hernandez said she would look into Cllr Singh’s concerns, saying: “I will ask the chief of police to explore how they are using the information in these free text boxes to give a better picture of what is really going on in hate crimes terms. “

Cllr Singh suggested that many people told him it was a “waste of time” to report a hate crime.

But Ms Hernandez urged victims or witnesses not to be dissuaded from reporting a crime.

“I implore people to report all crimes. People think nothing will happen as a result or they think it is not taken seriously, ”she said.

“I can assure you that if this is felt by people, they can come to me through my office to explore why the police are not acting on something, if they are.”

Ms Hernandez urged people to take the opportunity to interview the police and crime panel at future meetings, adding that very few people come forward in such situations.

An earlier version of this article indicated that Chaz Singh called on the police and the region’s crime commissioner to take Sikh victims of hate crimes more seriously. This was not said at the meeting. PlymouthLive apologizes for this and is happy to set the record straight.


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