'New approach' needed to tackle hate crime in West Midlands, Tory PCC candidate says

Rising hate crime in the West Midlands shows the current police approach is "failing", a candidate for the region's Police and Crime Commissioner has said.

Jay Singh-Sohal
Jay Singh-Sohal

Conservative Jay Singh-Sohal called for a "different approach" over the issue after Home Office figures showed a rise of almost 20 per cent in the region's cases.

Mr Singh-Sohal, a practising Sikh, said he had experienced hate crime himself through two physical confrontations and abuse on social media websites.

It has led him to pledge to create a dedicated hate incident line and a "safe space" for victims across the region to help provide frontline support to them.

And he would introduce monthly public reporting and auditing of hate crime cases as well as lobby Government to pilot micro-aggression training for offenders.

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The Conservative candidate revealed the policy ideas after hosting a public meeting over the issue which saw victims and activists share their thoughts.

Mr Singh-Sohal said: "We have a brilliant and diverse region, but the shocking fact that hate crimes are happening here at the rate of 18 incidents a day is a clear indicator that the current policing approach is failing.

"I regularly speak to people from diverse communities and backgrounds who have been affected by it.

"So, I know that we need immediate action starting with more effective leadership from the top of policing to tackle this crime.

"It’s one of my priorities because it’s simply unacceptable in modern Britain. And I have the ideas to how to make a difference if elected Police and Crime Commissioner."

Current PCC David Jamieson said hate crime had been underreported – due to the fears of victims – and said he had been working with West Midlands Mayor Andy Street.

Mr Jamieson said there was "never an excuse" for hate crime as he confirmed his "zero tolerance" approach – highlighting the current support on offer to victims.

Third-party reporting centres in community venues have been backed alongside the True Vision reporting app – with Remedi and Victim Support to help people recover.

Mr Singh-Sohal will face Labour's Simon Foster in the election next May after current PCC David Jamieson confirmed he was stepping down.

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