UK

Boris Johnson Defends His Hate-Crime Hotline After Storm Of Criticism

04/08/2015 12:50 BST | Updated 04/08/2015 12:59 BST

Boris Johnson has defended a proposed hate-crime reporting hotline, after criticism from groups that provide the same thing already.

Johnson was attacked by Muslim, Jewish and LGBT groups for his proposal. They said a one all-purpose hotline would confuse the issue and actually discourage people from coming forward to report.

Groups that monitor and encourage the reporting all told The Guardian they feared the new scheme would damage trust in their hotlines and not be trusted by different communities because it covered all types of hate crime.

boris johnson

Boris Johnson's spokesperson said the hotline could help hate crime be more proactively reported

“Reporting relies on trust between organisations and their communities, and a one-number, blanket approach ignores this fundamental principle,” Nik Noone, chief executive of LGBT hate crime monitors Galop, told the paper.

Richard Benson, former chief executive of anti-semitism monitors the Community Securities Trust, said: “It is quite clear that communities feel more comfortable when they are victims of a hate crime to report the issue to somebody within that community who understands them."

In a statement to HuffPost UK, a spokesperson for the mayor said hate crime was under-reported.

They said: "The Mayor is working closely with London’s diverse communities to help tackle hate crime across the capital. These crimes are significantly under-reported, and the Mayor is committed to doing everything possible to make it easier for victims to come forward.

"Plans for a new telephone reporting service are being developed in close consultation with the groups who are already doing great work in their own communities.

"It is being designed to extend provision, whilst complementing existing local services and the Mayor will continue to support these alongside the new service.”

SEE ALSO: Teenager Sentenced Over Anti-Semitic Tweet Sent To Lord Sugar

Teacher Banned For Telling Pupils 'Muslims Worship The Devil'

The comments come after figures showed the number of anti-semitic crimes in London had doubled in a year.

Last year, it was reported that homophobic hate crime had risen with London among the areas that had seen the biggest increases.

The Muslim Council of Britain told HuffPost UK last month that Islamophobic incidents were on the increase, after our poll revealed more Britons now thought Islam was a threat to Britain.