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Camden’s top cop reveals he has been victim of hate crime

Borough Commander Raj Kohli told his wife to ‘hide pictures of me’

23 July, 2019 — By Richard Osley

Borough Commander Raj Kohli told his wife to ‘hide pictures of me’

CAMDEN’S most senior police officer says his own family have been the victims of hate crime three times in the last year.

Borough commander Chief Superintendent Raj Kohli told a committee meeting at the Town Hall that he was frustrated because he believed this form of crime was underreported.

He said: “I think things are happening, but people just aren’t telling us.”

Chief Superintendent Kohli, who took over the leadership of the police in both Camden and Islington earlier this year, was appearing before the cross-party culture and environment scrutiny committee last Tuesday.

“I think there’s a lot more happening out there, I think people of underrepresented groups have a high tolerance for nonsensical behaviour towards us,” he said.

At first he said he had been a victim of hate crime twice in his own street within the last 12 months, but later said it had actually been three times.

“I did report those things because why wouldn’t I? But I know a lot of people are letting that stuff go,” he told councillors.

“When I was a victim of hate crime, a police officer came around and took a statement at the house. And that wasn’t because of who I am. In fact, when the officer arrived, I said to my wife hide the pictures of me because I don’t want people to provide you with a different service to anybody else. That’s not fair. He took a statement from me there, and there was a full investigation, etc.”

Chief Supt Kohli, who lives in the Hillingdon area, said that he wanted to reassure residents that reports would be investigated, adding that even racist abuse shouted from a car could be looked at if there was CCTV available.

He told the meeting: “I think it’s a massive challenge for people who are visibly different, and the gay community. The exits of certain clubs in this borough have potentially been a target. We aren’t picking that stuff up.”

He added:  “I’d encourage reporting it. I want to see an increase in hate crime because that’s an increase in reporting hate crime, which means an increase in confidence to do something about it.”

Labour councillor Rishi Madlani questioned how easy it was to flag incidents. He said he had reported racist and homophobic abuse on a train from a Crystal Palace supporter as he travelled back from watching his favourite football team, Leicester City. 

“I reported a hate crime at St Pancras station and… two hours I was there,” he said. “Two hours at midnight is a long time, and the last thing you need is to be is in the deep bowels of St Pancras station and I imagined several times anyone else, a normal person, would’ve walked away.”

Labour councillor Rishi Madlani joked he already disliked Crystal Palace

He added that he already disliked Crystal Palace in terms of football, but that was unconnected to the incident on the train.  

“They caught him at the gates,” said Cllr Madlani. “But they were like ‘if we want to convict, if we want to take this further, we need to take a statement now’.”

Chief Supt Kohli said this was unusual but added: “If there’s no statement from you, he has to be let go. With hate crime, cops really don’t letting people go, really we don’t. They want to keep them and have them in court the very next day, preferably if it happens on a Friday night to keep them in til Monday – so a bit of summary justice.”

He added: “There’s stuff we can do, report it all and then we can start doing some really well publicised activity around hate crime, because it’s just not acceptable.”


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