Wednesday, December 03, 2014

British cops relaxed about race-hate crime

Avon and Somerset Constabulary have formally apologised and admitted they 'got it wrong' after a woman who tore off the turban of a Sikh taxi driver and set it on fire was let off with a caution.

The taxi driver was attacked by a group of five drunken women who got into his car in the Bishopsworth area of Bristol and demanded a free ride to Swindon in Wiltshire, 40 miles away.

The driver asked them to get out but they refused and began racially abusing him.

The taxi driver, an Asian Sikh named only as Mr Singh, had his turban torn off and set on fire by a woman who escaped with just a police caution

The women physically assaulted him and attacked his vehicle before one ripped the turban from his head and set it alight.

At the time the woman admitted the race hate crime to police but the investigating detective decided to give her a caution instead of pursuing a prosecution.

The driver, an Asian Sikh named only as Mr Singh, was not satisfied and turned to an action group to help him.

Following an eight-month campaign the caution was overturned and the woman was taken to court where she said sorry to her victim and was fined £200.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary have now formally apologised to the taxi driver and said the woman should have been charged.

Chief Superintendent Jon Reilly, area commander for Bristol, said: 'I'm always disappointed to hear that we haven't got things quite right.

'We made two arrests on the evening. Because one of the girls admitted it, the detective decided a caution was enough, but that decision was wrong.

'The detective on the case did get it wrong on this occasion. It should have gone through the courts. It has gone further than a caution now.'

He added: 'Hate crimes have a profound affect on the victims and we take it very seriously. 'I have met with the family and we have apologised. 'The incident was brought to my attention in February and as soon as we could see something had gone wrong we put it right.

'It's very unusual to rescind a caution so we had to take the decision to the CPS in London.

'We have apologised and I'm disappointed that we haven't met the high standards expected of us. 'We work hard to ensure victims of hate crime have the confidence to come forward and report hate crime.

'We're working with taxi drivers to see what we can do to help stop these crimes and make them easier to report.'

Taxi driver Mr Singh said the incident in September last year had left him scared to leave the house, but he still needed to work to support his family.

A family friend said: 'This attack on his person has affected the whole of his family. 'His children are scared, his wife is scared to let him out of the house for work in case it happens again and he is scared. 'He forces himself out of the house for work but he's always afraid he'll be attacked again.

'He always had high regard for the police and the law but he's now lost his confidence in the police and the system.

'He is happy the case has come to an amicable solution but he wants assurances that the police will take actions if attacks like it happen again. 'He wants to know that the police will take actions before a campaign is started, like in his case. 'He's glad this is over but now he wants things to improve for everyone.'

Campaigners SARI (Stand Against Racism and Inequality) supported the taxi driver throughout the ordeal.

Alex Raikes, assistant director at SARI said: 'On this occasion they [the police] didn't take it seriously.

'They didn't get the impact of a turban being ripped off and set on fire. 'They didn't appreciate that that is like an attack on a person, like a serious sexual offence for a Sikh person.'

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress. If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where posts appear as well as on the primary site. I have reposted the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts HERE or HERE or here

No comments: