Nip hate crime in the bud

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Mr Healey’s letter of February 12, calling for Her Majesty’s Police Inspectorate to determine whether Muslims are a priority in Bexhill, misunderstands how the local neighbourhood policing system works.

A public meeting, held four times a year in Bexhill Central ward, determines police priorities for each quarter in that ward.

The police, however, have a veto over these priorities, which was used in the case of parking. As secretary of the Bexhill Central Neighbourhood Police Panel, I received details of a number of alleged incidents of hate crime in central Bexhill, some of which had been reported to Sussex Police.

As a result, the public attendees at the meeting decided unanimously to make ‘anti-social/racist behaviour’ the third of three neighbourhood police priorities in Bexhill Central ward until the March meeting. The other two priorities are ‘shoplifting’ and ‘illegal drug activity’.

Both of these are based on crime records in the police report to the meeting.

I understand that the neighbourhood police have detected and shut down a number of local cannabis factories, which is welcome.

Some arrests have been made.

One of the reported incidents of hate crime involved a man outside a school gate asking his son to run down a parent, who was wearing the hijab head scarf, on his bicycle with offensive words [sic].

The public panel decided that such incidents should be nipped in the bud.

I endorse that. So do Bexhill Neighbourhood Police. At full council on Monday, February 22, the Rother cabinet member for equalities, added her support in reply to a question from me. The Muslim lady, who has shown the confidence and community leadership to publicly report the incidents that she experienced, is not alone.

She has had 168 messages of support on the Bexhill-on-Sea Group Facebook page.

It is disappointing that so illustrious a man as Mr Healey (a former Police Officer, successful author and charity fundraiser) should appear to belittle the significance of hate crime.

Paul Courtel

Amherst Road

Bexhill

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