Leicestershire Police's 'hate crime' officer bombarded with abuse

Leicestershire Police's 'hate crime' officer bombarded with abuse

Leicestershire Police’s new ‘hate crime’ officer is bombarded with racist abuse after introducing herself on social media – as force launches probe

  • Sumaya Bihi announced her new role in a Twitter post on October 3
  • But the young Muslim woman was bombarded with abusive messages
  • In response, Leicestershire Police said they are investigating 

A police force’s new ‘hate crime officer’ faced a barrage of abuse after introducing herself online.

Sumaya Bihi announced her new role in a Twitter post on October 3, saying she was the ‘Hate Crime Officer for Leicestershire Police’. 

Tweeting from the ‘Leicestershire Police Stay Safe’ account, she invited users to contact her with ‘queries or concerns’ as she shared a photo of herself wearing a hijab.

But the young Muslim woman was bombarded with abusive messages, some of which featured racist and derogatory language. 

In response, Leicestershire Police said they are investigating and ‘supporting our hate crime officer in a number of ways.’ 

The new role has been established to help the force keep up to date with legislation concerning hate crimes. It also encourages alleged victims to report crimes against them.

It comes after figures released this month showed how the number of hate crimes recorded by police has risen by more than a quarter in a year.

There were 155,841 offences recorded in England and Wales over the year to March, up 26 per cent from the previous year in the biggest rise for five years.

Leicestershire Police’s new ‘hate crime officer’ faced a barrage of abuse after introducing herself online. Sumaya Bihi announced her new role in a Twitter post on October 3

Tweeting from the ‘Leicestershire Police Stay Safe’ account, she invited users to contact her with ‘queries or concerns’ as she shared a photo of herself wearing a hijab

Speaking about the alleged abuse faced by Ms Bihi, a Leicestershire Police spokesman told the Leicester Mercury: ‘We are supporting our hate crime officer in a number of ways. 

‘Unacceptable messages have been reported to Twitter and we have opened our own inquiries into the abuse.’ 

In response to the abuse, other Twitter users showed their support.

One said: ‘I can see you’re already receiving hate via Twitter just because you’re a Muslim.

‘About time social media platforms took responsibility for policing this kind of abuse’

Leicestershire Police is continuing to grapple with the recent outbreak of violence between small sections of the Hindu and Muslim community in Leicester. 

They are investigating more than 100 incidents and have made dozens of arrests. 

A team of 50 officers were investigating the incidents, including reviewing more than 6,000 hours of body worn camera footage.

The arrests include at least one person who was accused of trying to inflame tensions between the two communities on social media by printing false information.

Leicestershire Police said they are investigating and ‘supporting our hate crime officer in a number of ways’

Following the release of the hate crime statistics last week, the Home Office said it was unclear whether the increase was due to a genuine rise in hate offences or the result of better police recording and victims feeling more confident to come forward.

Forces recorded 109,843 race hate crimes, 8,730 religious hate crimes, 26,152 sexual orientation hate crimes, 14,242 disability hate crimes and 4,355 transgender hate crimes.

Sexual orientation hate crimes increased by 41 per cent, disability hate crimes by 43 per cent, and transgender identity hate crimes by 56 per cent. 

Fewer hate crimes motivated by transgender identity were recorded compared with all other motivations, but this group saw the biggest percentage rise.

The Home Office said transgender issues have been ‘heavily discussed on social media’ over the last year, which may have led to an increase in related hate crimes.

The majority of hate crimes recorded by police were racially motivated – in line with previous years – and increased by 19 per cent from the year ending 2021, the figures show.

Some crimes are recorded as having more than one motivating factor.

It is the first time the number of racially motivated hate crimes recorded over a year has topped 100,000.

Religious hate crimes rose by 37 per cent to reach the highest level since records began in 2012.

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