Hate crime has risen by 57% across the country since the result of the EU Referendum, according to the National Police Chiefs’ Council.
Cllr Paul Bull, Lead Councillor for Communities and Neighbourhoods, said there had already been reports that migrant communities were being verbal abused and physically attacked in Exeter since last Thursday.
"Hate crime has no place in Exeter,” he stressed. "In the main Exeter is a tolerant city and that our open and welcoming community has a rich mix of cultural heritage, as exhibited by the recent success of the 2016 Exeter Repect Festival in Belmont Park. So I want to reassure all people living in Exeter that they are valued members of our community.”
"However, there is a small minority that believe as a result of the recent referendum that all migrants should be repatriated - and are making their racist and xenophobic views known in violence towards those migrants.
"In particular, our local Polish community appears to be bearing the brunt of this abuse. I want to pay tribute to the brave Polish airmen of 307 Night Fighter Squadron - "The Eagle Owls" - who protected the skies above Exeter. Any attack on our current Polish community is a dishonour to their forebears who helped fight for this country.
"As Chair of Exeter's Black and Minority Ethnic Forum I am calling for an emergency meeting to bring together local community representatives, partners, agencies and the police to discuss the current situation, and ensure ensure local bodies and programmes have the support and resources they need to fight and prevent racism and xenophobia.
"I welcome the statement from Devon & Cornwall Police's Diverse Communities Teams and Neighbourhood Teams that they are working hard to provide support and reassurance to all our communities.
"It is vital that we all work closely to promote the message that any instances of ’hate’ such as abuse, harassment or violence are completely unacceptable and will be dealt with robustly, with a zero tolerance approach.
"In the meanwhile, I would urge anyone suffering xenophobic abuse - or anyone witnessing such actions - to report such incidents to the D&C Police and the relevant local authorities."
Member since: 10th July 2012
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