CONCERNS have been raised over government rulings which dictate that schools no longer need to report hate crimes to the local authority.
The number of hate crimes reported in East Staffordshire has dipped by 170 since last year, figures show, but that is mostly because there is no longer a requirement for this type of offences to be revealed outside the school environment.
Amir Kabal, director of East Staffordshire Racial Equality Council, said that although this made no difference to the way in which schools dealt with the offences, it meant a full picture was no longer being provided so action could not be directed where it was needed.
He told the Mail: “Schools used to be under an obligation to report this type of crime, and the local authority would collect and share the records and see where it was necessary to call on resources.
“Clearly, if we don’t know anything that is happening, we will not be able to do that.”
The number of hate crimes reported has gone from 526 in 2011/12 to 356 in 2012/13 – a reduction of 170. However, Mr Kabal pointed out that last year there were 160 incidents in schools.
He added: “The decrease is a good thing, if the number of hate crimes is actually decreasing – that is what we want and what we hope to happen, but we don’t believe that all incidents are recorded and reported and we might not have all the information.”
Hate crimes are offences which are motivated by race, gender, disability, ethnicity, sexual orientation or age.
Since 1994, there has been a huge increase in the amount of these crimes recorded, but that is put down to a rise in the number of people coming forward to report incidents.
Mr Kabal urged anyone who was a victim of hate crime to make sure they reported it to the relevant authority.
He said: “If anybody is a victim clearly they need to report it.
“I can’t change this. It is what happens in the community, but we like to think that if people report it we can do something about it.
“We are pleased with the system we have in place in our area, and we have got the support of agencies that work with us.
“All parties are 100 per cent committed to dealing with it.”