The Conservative Party’s London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey has called on the government to treat homophobic hate crimes as an aggravated offence.
Bailey is challenging Labour incumbent Sadiq Khan – a prominent supporter of LGBT+ rights – in May’s election for Mayor of London.
In a release on Thursday, Bailey called on the government to create a new aggravated hate crime offence for homophobic crimes, equivalent to racist and religious hate crimes.
PinkNews has asked for clarification on whether the policy would also apply to transphobic hate crimes, which were not specifically mentioned by Bailey.
Shaun Bailey: Londoners should not feel unsafe being themselves
Shaun Bailey said: “Too many Londoners feel unsafe on our streets. As someone who has experienced racial hate both on the streets and online, I stand in total solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community, many of whom suffer horrible and unacceptable abuse.”
He added: “My tough on crime plan will ensure that criminals on and offline are put under pressure, not victims. I will fight for London’s values of openness and acceptance.
“Not a single Londoner should feel unsafe for being themselves – that message must reach out to London and it must come from the very top at City Hall.”
The Conservative candidate, who has been a member of the London Assembly since 2016, also attacked the record of the Metropolitan Police’s online hate crime hub, which was set up by Khan in 2017 but has led to few prosecutions.
Sadiq Khan defends record on hate crimes.
Shaun Bailey said: “The Mayor of London is the Police and Crime Commissioner and is responsible for law and order in the capital, but the current Mayor has failed to act to protect the most vulnerable in the city from the scourge of hate crime.
“His £1.7M policy has only brought six criminals to justice, while thousands have suffered abuse. This failure is emblematic of the entire Khan approach to government: promise lots, deliver little.”
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London told PinkNews: “The mayor takes a zero-tolerance approach to hate crime in London and the hub is supporting victims and helping us respond to the growing threat that London’s diverse and minority communities are facing both on and offline.
“The Met has made huge progress in tackling all forms of hate crime but it’s clear more needs to be done. The police have City Hall‘s full support in enforcing the law against anybody who commits these crimes.”
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