Participants including the father of Stephen Lawrence heralded the staging of a Hate Crime conference held at Kingston University (KU) last month (June 19).

The conference was organised by Kingston Race Equalities Council (KREC) in cooperation Kingston Council (RBK) and welcomed community leaders, councillors and young people from the borough.

It was staged following RBK's Leader Liz Green’s challenge to KREC to have a more visible and proactive approach to tackling hate crime in the area.

The conference was Chaired by Professor John Grieve, a former Deputy Assistant Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police (MPS) who investigated the Stephen Lawrence murder.

Speakers for the event included Dr Neville Lawrence, the father of Stephen Lawrence, Cllr Green, CEO of RBK Ian Thomas, South West Borough Command Unit Chief Superintendent Sally Benatar, Dr Victor Olisa from the London School of Economics and Mike Ainsworth, chair of the government’s Hate Crime Independent Advisory Group.

From the conference, KREC revealed that the participants had agreed to launch a Hate Crime Action Group — designed to bring various organisations together to focus on tackling hate crimes and incidents in the borough.

A spokesperson for KREC said: "The Hate Crime Action Group will ask...organisations, especially the MPS, to refer victims of hate crime to KREC to offer them advice, counselling, support, mediation and advocacy services.

"KREC will also work with the police to prosecute perpetrators of hate crime and offer them awareness raising sessions to help them understand the harm they cause to individuals and groups."

Surrey Comet:

Speaking at the conference, Dr Lawrence spoke of the ongoing pain he experienced following his son's death.

Stephen Lawrence was murdered in a racially motivated attack in 1993, leading to an inquire in which the presiding judge described the police response to his murder as "institutionally racist."

"Every time I hear of another stabbing it takes me right back to the day my son was stabbed to death just for being Black.

"These killings must stop. We have to do whatever is needed to stop the deaths of our young people," Dr Lawrence told the KREC conference.

Cllr Green meanwhile praised KREC for its efforts in proactively tackling hate crime in Kingston.

"I applaud the work KREC is doing in the region to advice and support victims of hate crime...(the Hate Crime Action Group) will provide a framework for dealing with hate crimes and incidents.

"I encourage all who suffer hate crime to seek help and work with us to stop and eradicate hate crimes," Cllr Green said.

Her colleague at RBK Mr Thomas recalled his own experiences growing up and suffering from hate crime, urging anyone who experiences or notices it to speak up, while Ch Supt Benatar agreed:

"We want to encourage everyone who experiences a hate crime or incident to report to the police or to a third party reporting site.

"We have dedicated police officers who deal specifically with hate crime and they have the experience and understanding to help victims from any background or with any Protected Characteristic," she said.

KREC offers a free advice, support, counselling, advocacy and mediation service to all victims of hate crime and hate incidents regardless of personal characteristics such as race, age, gender, disability, belief or sexual orientation.

To contact KREC, call 020 8547 2332, send an email to or visit them directly on the third floor of Neville House, 55 Eden Street, Kingston, KT1 1BW. / @krec2016 / @kingstonREC