Council to hold urgent talks to prevent racism and hate crime

Coun Nadeem Ahmed.
Coun Nadeem Ahmed.

Councillors have said they will hold an urgent conference to tackle racism and xenophobia in the district.

Members of all political parties unanimously supported a motion to condemn and deal with all types of hate crime, two weeks after leader of the Wakefield Conservative group Coun Nadeem Ahmed spoke out about racial comments he said had been hurled at him in the street.

The councillors approved a motion to ensure local bodies have the support and resources they need to fight and prevent hate crime, racism and xenophobia at a meeting of the full council on Wednesday.

Council leader Coun Peter Box, who put forward the motion with Coun Ahmed, said: “Every councillor in the chamber made it clear that Wakefield has a zero tolerance approach to hate crime.

“We have had reassurances in Wakefield that there has been no reported increase in hate crime incidents. But we must not be complacent.

“We need to take action to make people feel safer, send out the message that it will not be tolerated and encourage people to report it.”

Peter Box Wakefield Council Leader
 
LOCATION:  Wakefield Town Hall

Peter Box Wakefield Council Leader LOCATION: Wakefield Town Hall

The council agreed it would hold a hate crime conference with local agencies to discuss the best ways to tackle hatred. And it said it would teach young people about the negative impact of hate crime on society.

Coun Maureen Cummings, cabinet member for environment and communities, said she would work with Coun Ahmed to tackle hate crime.

Coun Cummings said:“I am delighted that we are forging this new partnership that will enable us to reach out to all communities and reassure everyone living in this area that they are valued members of this district. We will work together to encourage those affected by hate crime to come forward and report it so that it can be stopped in its tracks.”

Coun Ahmed added: “Hate incidents of any kind will be taken seriously and we all have a duty to report them and support our communities.

“This district is made up of people from different backgrounds and in Wakefield we encourage people to come here, work and settle. They are part of our society and they should feel welcome.”