Harrow is one of London’s most diverse boroughs. This diversity is a strength from which we all benefit every day. We enjoy a rich cultural life and have strong and integrated communities that include people from many different backgrounds.
There are more than 100 languages spoken in Harrow, yet we’re in the top 10 areas in the country for people who describe their nationality as “British”. That’s a neat summing up of what we’re all about – different but together – a safe and successful mix of people united in calling Harrow home.
Everyone has a right to assert who they are, and should be free to do so unapologetically and without fear of persecution. There have been many hard-won battles in this country’s history to establish that right and whilst challenges remain, we should be proud of our reputation for respect and tolerance.
After last week’s vote to leave the European Union, there has tragically been a rise in the occurrence of hate crime nation-wide, including elsewhere in London. Hate crimes are attempts to degrade our rights, to intimidate and dehumanise, to inhibit the pride we each rightly feel about who we are.
Hate crime takes many forms – verbal abuse, graffiti, physical violence and indeed any criminal action that’s motivated by hatred. I want to be clear – Harrow has a zero tolerance approach and I absolutely condemn anyone who commits hate crime or thinks it is acceptable.
If it happens to you or you see it happening to someone else, please do not tolerate, do not turn a blind eye. Hate crime is just that, a crime, and one that’s rightfully taken incredibly seriously by the Police. You can call the police, or you can report to Stop Hate UK on 0113 293 5100.
Cllr Sachin Shah
Leader of Harrow Council