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Birkbeck academic appointed to Westminster Hate Commission

Professor Leslie Moran has been selected to contribute to the commission which is the first of its kind.

Professor Moran has been selected to join the Westminster Hate Crime Committee. As the number of hate crimes is currently on the rise in the UK, the Westminster City Council has taken the step to bring together individuals and organisations to gather evidence about hate crime. Between July 2018 and July 2019 there were 1,535 racist and religious hate crimes reported – nearly double the number of the next highest borough in the capital.

Professor Moran served as a lecturer in the School of Law for 20 years before retiring earlier this year. He has been involved in research and engagement of hate crime since the late 1990s, both in the UK and Australia, with a focus on crimes in London. He has edited two collections of international scholarship in Law and Critique (2001) and Liverpool Law Review (2008). His past research has also included an empirical study of violence against transgender people in Sydney, Australia. During his 20 years at Birkbeck he set up a postgraduate course on hate crime and was chair of GALOP, an LGBT anti-violence stakeholder organisation, was a member of the Met Police LGBT anti-violence stakeholder organisation, a member of the Met Police LGBT advisory group and the Law Society’s Equality and Diversity Committee.

The commission’s work will be used to engage individuals and organisations to gather information about hate crime in the borough of Westminster and then offer guidance and advice to the council. Chaired by former Crimewatch presenter Nick Ross, the commission will produce a report that they expect to publish in 2020.

Chair of the independent Hate Crime Commission, Nick Ross said:

“It’s good Westminster is taking hate crime so seriously and that we have been given a free hand to come up with solutions. Hate crime can range from minor insults to terrorism - and it’s mostly unreported, so we have a big task.

“We need to find out how much hate crimes result from age-old prejudices or from a new and dangerous consequence of angry politics and bullying social media.  Above all, we must come up with answers on how to make residents and visitors feel safer and act with exemplary civility themselves.”

Professor Moran commented:

“My appointment to the Westminster Hate Crime Commission provides a perfect opportunity to put to work my rich experience of research and teaching at Birkbeck in service of this exciting initiative.

“Westminster has one of the highest incidents of reported hate crimes in the UK. While this is a serious concern research suggests it also has a positive aspect to it. The figures are also evidence of a willingness to report incidents. This suggests there is more confidence in the system in Westminster than in other places. It’s also the case that hate crime is still under-reported everywhere. 

“The Westminster Hate Crime Commission provides a unique opportunity to dig deeper to find out what happens to these reports. It’s also a great opportunity to find out more about how a multiagency response can better support people who experience this type of violence. I’ve long advocated that it is important to examine not only the criminal justice institutional responses but also the ways in which on a day to day basis people manage both fear of prejudice related violence and incidents of violence. It’s something the Hate Crime Commission is also committed to.”

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