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Race crime in Cheltenham makes up vast majority of all town hate crime

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 28, 2013

By JOE LANE

Comments (7)

MORE than 90 per cent of all hate crimes which take place in Cheltenham are of a racist nature, figures have revealed.

Data released to the Echo under the Freedom of Information Act shows hate crime – defined as crime which is motivated by any form of prejudice – fell in Cheltenham in the last year by 45 per cent

However, of the 44 incidents reported, 41 one of them were race related.

It has raised concerns over the prevalence of racist attitudes in the town.

Father-of-three Roby Mekkara, from Whaddon Road, was the subject of a string of racist attacks when he first arrived in the town – including having his door smashed in by yobs in a terrifying incident.

The 44-year-old, who is of Indian descent, said: "Although I absolutely believe it is a minority of people, there is quite a lot of racism in Cheltenham in terms of people's attitudes towards minority groups.

"Nothing has happened to me since I had my problems a few years ago but a friend of mine was abused and called 'Paki' outside the shop recently.

"It's the kind of thing that happens surprisingly often for a town like Cheltenham.

"It's predominantly a white town and I don't know why but these kind of attitudes are somehow still around."

As well as the 41 racially motivated crimes last year, there was one crime driven by prejudice against religion and another against someone's sexual orientation.

Unknown

One more hate crime was classified as being prejudiced for an unknown reason.

Police said any form of hate crime was unacceptable and urged people to contact them if they witnessed one taking place.

A spokesman said: "Hate crimes have a very deep and lasting impact upon victims and are totally unacceptable within our communities.

"We are aware that these types of crimes go unreported and so we would encourage anyone who has witnessed or has been a victim of hate crime to report it to us.

"We work in partnership with other agencies under the Gloucestershire Hate Crime and Incident Action Group.

"Hate crime is not acceptable."

More information on hate crimes in Gloucestershire can be found at www.gloucestershire.police.uk.

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7 comments

  • sticks_stones  |  March 01 2013, 1:11PM

    This report is not very fair at all, the example used makes out that hate crime is always directed at non-whites, when in fact, that's far from the truth - whilst Mr Mekkaras(so called) friend gets called a pak!, that by default is a hate crime - young white lads from London, Birmingham etc get violently attacked by gangs of non-whites, or even killed, that by default is a random attack. So, there maybe some truth in this report - but it's left wide open for tall(hate crime) tales. We had laws to deal with this anyway, why the need for "hate crime" - what next? Facecrime...

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  • AndyPrestbury  |  March 01 2013, 9:11AM

    Pretty much the exact same story was run last year, with similarly vague information. The problem with reports of one type of crime in isolation helps no-one. ALL crime causes distress to it's victims. ALL crime should not be tolerated. Is a burglary when a person is in the house and the victim is then afraid to sleep in their own home any less of a traumatic crime for the victim? Prolific burglars can have hundreds of victims a year, so the police concentrate their efforts catching them. This is because people report burglaries, so the police have figures and patterns to go on. People say the race hate crimes are happening a lot more, but people cannot be bothered to report them. Well the victims are not helping themselves or future victims. It may not look as though anything is being done when a crime is being reported, but a lot of statistical analysis is carried out. Over time if a lot of crimes are being committed of a particular type then patterns will emerge, and plans and resources can be put into place. I would have thought someone that commits a race hate crime will be just as prolific as a burlar, with a wake of vicitims as they go thorugh life. If no-one reports these crimes it will never become a priority of the police, as they have to concentrate their resources on the most prolific crimes. I have been the victim of crime many times, sometimes you get a quick response, sometimes you do not, sometimes no response at all. It has never stopped my reporting a crime though. If you allow apathy to take root then the criminals have won.

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  • sticks_stones  |  March 01 2013, 12:24AM

    "It's predominantly a white town and I don't know why but these kind of attitudes are somehow still around." That's right Mr Mekkara - still around in your head - absolute lies...

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  • AndyPrestbury  |  February 28 2013, 3:32PM

    The thing is these statistics have no real context. As a figure of overall crime in Cheltenham what percentage is it? How does the percentage of hate crime in Cheltenham relate to other areas of Gloucestershire, and how does Gloucestershire compare to the rest of the UK? Maybe Cheltenham is doing very well in tackling these crimes and they are very low as a percentage of the population. Or maybe the percentage is 10 times the national average. Come on TiG instead of sensational headlines do a proper job.

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  • supernova1  |  February 28 2013, 3:03PM

    One more hate crime was classified as being prejudiced for an unknown reason.......' So, they can't find the right pidgeonhole, so it MUST be a hate crime. Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

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  • hzlparr  |  February 28 2013, 1:47PM

    dfg

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  • Ms_Superstar  |  February 28 2013, 12:32PM

    An interesting statistic. More accurately, I would guess that it's actually 90% of RECORDED hate crime that is racist. Many victims of other forms of hate crime may feel discouraged from reporting it,either from fear of retribution, embarrassment or because the police do not take it ser i ously. The article quotes a number of statements of policy from 'the police'. The quotations would have had more credibility if they had come from a named source. Cheltenham attracts a large number of people, and many are bigoted, intolerant, aggressive and vocal. The police need to get a grip on this. I have been a victim of hate crime myself, and would love the opportunity to work alongside them in tackling this particularly nasty crime, but they don't take it seriously and I don't take them seriously.

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