A fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlighting key events in the UK and Europe.
Policing & criminal justice
17 December: The Supreme Court rules that ‘random’ stop and search powers have adequate safeguards in place and that the powers bring ’great benefits to the public’. (Guardian, 17 December 2015)
22 December: The Independent Police Complaints Commission announces an investigation in relation to the injuries sustained by Ali Rehman after he was bitten by a police dog outside his Manchester home in November 2015. (Manchester Evening News, 22 December 2015)
22 December 2015: The Independent Advisory panel on deaths in custody has published: IAP Statistical Analysis of recorded deaths in state custody between 2000 and 2014. View the statistics here.
26 December: Freedom of Information requests made by the Justice Gap reveal that two-thirds of all those Tasered between 2010-2014 were identified as suffering from mental health problems. (Justice Gap, 26 December 2015)
1 January: Official data reveal that most UK police forces employ a disproportionate number of white police officers and that job applicants from BAME communities have a smaller chance of getting a job when they do apply. (Guardian, 1 January 2016)
3 January: The Independent reveals that Cleveland Police used the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) to access the emails of whistleblowing police officer Nadeem Saddique, who recently won an employment tribunal against the force. (Independent, 3 January 2016)
4 January: The inquest into the death of 44-year-old Traveller Ethol Price, whose body was found in a Nantwich reservoir five days after a police chase, is adjourned until April 2016. (Stoke Sentinel, 4 January 2016)
9 January: The Traveller Movement condemns a Metropolitan police inquiry into racism, in relation to a secret Facebook page used by officers to air racist views about Gypsies and Travellers, as ‘shambolic and disrespectful’ and a ‘whitewash’. (Independent, 9 January 2016)
11 January: Scotland Yard apologises to the family of Kester David, who was found badly burned under a bridge in Palmers Green in 2010, for ‘shortcomings’ in the original investigation into his death. The family is planning to sue the force. (BBC News, 11 January 2016)
13 January: Bernard Hogan-Howe announces that he will increase the number of firearms officers in London. (Guardian, 13 January 2016)
Asylum & immigration
December: The Law Society publishes practice notes on: Statutory defences available to asylum seekers charged with document offences, as lawyers are still wrongly advising them to plead guilty seventeen years after the defences were enacted. Read the practice notes here.
15 December: A Muslim family of eleven travelling to Disneyland in Florida is stopped from boarding a flight by US officials at Gatwick Airport, who withdraw authorisation to travel from the family. (Guardian, 23 December 2015)
17 December: The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration publishes: An Inspection of How the Home Office Tackles Illegal Working, October 2014 – March 2015. Download the report here.
17 December: The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration publishes: An Inspection of Removals, October 2014 – March 2015. Download the report here.
17 December: The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration publishes: Supplementary Annual Report, November 2014 – March 2015. Download the report here.
18 December: The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee publishes: Immigration: skill shortages. Download the report here (pdf file, 498kb).
28 December: Home Office plans to cut the pay of 2,000 interpreters are put on hold after workers launch a campaign for fair pay. (Guardian, 28 December 2015)
30 December: A new International Protection Act is signed into law in Ireland after being rushed through parliament in six weeks. The Irish Refugee Council is critical of its failure to remedy the Direct Provision system of asylum support, and says it fails the most vulnerable. (Irish Refugee Council, 30 December 2015)
31 December: A 15-year-old Afghan asylum seeker is found dead in the back of a lorry in Dunkirk, France. (Vice, 4 January 2016)
4 January: A court is told that a Sudanese man, Abdul Haroun, who walked the length of Channel tunnel, has been granted asylum in the UK. His prosecution under nineteenth century laws for obstructing a railway is adjourned. (Guardian, 4 January 2015)
4 January: Sweden begins identity checks on all train, bus and ferry passengers arriving from Denmark, with the transport companies given responsibility to implement the checks. A temporary fence has already been constructed at Copenhagen Airport’s Kastrup station to prevent people from trying to cross the tracks. (The Local, 4 January 2016)
4 January: Denmark implements temporary controls at its border with Germany, initially for a period of ten days, after which the border controls can be extended for twenty days at a time. As part of the controls, Danish police will carry out random identity checks on ferries and trains arriving from Germany. (The Local, 4 January 2016)
9 January: Women held at Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre tell reporters they are missing hospital appointments because they refuse to wear handcuffs, insisted on by staff, for the visits. (Bedfordshire on Sunday, 9 January 2016)
9 January: Following accusations that police and media covered up a mass assault on women by men of Arab or North African appearance on New Year’s Eve in Cologne, so as to avoid anti-foreigner feeling, Angela Merkel says she will make it easier to deport criminal asylum-seekers. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson, joins a 1,000-strong Pegida rally, where Cologne police use water cannons and pepper spray to disperse violent protesters. (Guardian, 9 January 2016)
10 January: A British man, Rob Lawrie, who tried to smuggle a 4-year-old Afghan girl into the UK to join family members, says he is ‘preparing for the worst and hoping for the best’ as he waits to be sentenced by a French court. (Huffington Post, 10 January 2016)
11 January: The British government is exposing thousands of women brought to the UK by wealthy Gulf families to conditions of slavery, trafficking and abuse, according to a review of domestic worker visas. (Guardian, 11 January 2016)
13 January: A ‘record number’ of asylum seekers in Britain are being left destitute, according to the British Red Cross, which says it supported some 9,000 people in this situation last year, the youngest of whom was one year old. (Reuters, 13 January 2016)
13 January: Ladesfield, a centre for young asylum seekers which opened in Whitstable last year, is closed down amidst what a council leader describes as ‘strong local feeling and unpleasantness’. (Canterbury Times, 13 January 2016)
13 January: Figures obtained by VICE reveal that immigration detainees in the Verne, on the Isle of Portland, are particularly isolated, with an average of just over two visits a year per detainee. (VICE, 13 January 2016)
13 January: MPs in Denmark debate plans to seize asylum seekers’ cash and other valuable items worth more than 10,000 kroner (£1,000), in a move that has been likened by some commentators to the treatment of Jews by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust. (BBC News, 13 January 2016)
14 January: The Home Office publishes: Review into the Welfare of Vulnerable Persons (the Shaw Review). Download the report here.
Violence & harassment
20 December: A 28-year-old man is beaten in an unprovoked attack by two white men who also racially abuse him in Bow, east London. The victim is stamped upon so hard an imprint is left on his face; he also suffers a broken nose and broken leg. (Evening Standard, 27 December 2015)
22 December: Lukas Vongyer, 40, is jailed for four years and ten months after pleading guilty to charges including racially aggravated harassment. He was found in possession of bomb making equipment, weapons and a target list of victims. (Guardian, 22 December 2015)
24 December: A Muslim charity worker giving out Christmas decorations in Croydon on Christmas Eve says he thought ‘he was going to die’ after he was racially abused and punched from behind with such force that his ‘hearing went all muffled, and [his] eyesight went blurry’. (Local Guardian, 11 January 2016)
25 December: Two men are beaten outside a Liverpool takeaway in a racially motivated attack by four men in their ‘20s; the victims are punched and kicked and sustain facial injuries with one needing ‘extensive surgery’. (Liverpool Echo, 31 December 2015)
25 December: Two men suffer serious head and arm injuries after being racially abused and attacked by a white man wielding a metal pole in a car park in Bridgwater. (Western Daily Press, 29 December 2015)
25 December: As 150 people gather to show support for firefighters attacked in the Corsican capital of Ajaccio, some of the crowd attack a nearby Muslim prayer hall and burn copies of the Koran, shouting racist slogans . (Independent, 25 December 2015)
30 December: Oliver Letwin, an advisor to the current prime minister, is forced to apologise for comments revealed in documents released by the National Archive. Letwin, while working as a policy advisor for Thatcher, advised her not to give money to inner-city youth as it would be used to ‘subside Rastafarian arts and crafts workshops’. (Guardian,
30 December 2015)
31 December: A government body tasked with monitoring racism in France reports that anti-Muslim hate crimes have increased threefold, with more than 400 hate crimes recorded against Muslims in 2015, compared with 133 the previous year. (The Local, 31 December 2015)
3 January: Two men are attacked in separate incidents which police in Guildford are treating as linked and racially motivated. In the first, a 19-year-old man suffers facial injuries after being attacked by three men, and in the second, a short time later, a man suffers a fractured eye socket and hand in an attack by three men. (Get Surrey, 5 January 2016)
4 January: George Vernon, 67, is jailed for a year for racially abusing and threatening to kill his neighbours as they celebrated Ramadan in Bristol in July 2015. (Bristol Post, 4 January 2016)
4 January: A 23-year-old asylum seeker is hit by a bullet and injured when several shots are fired through the window of his room in a shelter in Dreieich-Dreieichenhain, near Frankfurt. (Wall Street Journal, 4 January 2016)
5 January: James McConnell, 78, is cleared of charges under the Communication Act for making inflammatory comments about Islam during a speech at a Belfast church in May 2014. (Guardian, 5 January 2016)
6 January: Three men in a car throw gas canisters and abuse three Jewish people in separate attacks in Tottenham Hale. (Guardian, 7 January 2016)
10 January: Mohammed Khalid, a takeaway owner seriously beaten in Fife after the Paris terrorist attacks in November, tells reporters that he will give up the family business he built from scratch, saying ‘I thought I could return, but the nightmares and flashbacks have just been too much for me to handle.’ (Daily Record, 10 January 2016)
11 January: The parents of Luke Holland, a Mancunian who was shot dead in a Berlin last year, tell reporters he was killed for being a ‘foreigner’. Police have arrested a 62 year-old man who had been heard shouting of ‘hating foreigners’ shortly before the killing, and officers allegedly found pictures of Hitler on the walls of his flat and illegal ammunition. (Manchester Evening News, 11 January 2016)
11 January: Twenty unknown assailants organise a migrant manhunt in Cologne on Facebook, attacking a group of Pakistanis and a Syrian man, two of whom had to be hospitalised. (Independent, 11 January 2016)
11 January: A 15-year-old Kurdish boy attacks a 35-year-old Jewish teacher with a machete in Marseille in France in what is believed to be an anti-semitic attack, leaving him with minor injuries to his back and hand. The teenager told police that he did it in the name of Islamic State. (Guardian, 11 January 2016)
22 December: Mark Colborne, 37, an admirer of Anders Breivik who fantasised about killing Prince Charles, is detained indefinitely after being found guilty in September of planning a cyanide attack. (BBC News, 22 December 2016)
29 December: German Green Party MP Volker Beck initiates legal proceedings against Pegida and several of its supporters for eighteen threats to his life, accusing Pegida of encouraging a ‘spiral of hate’. (The Local, 29 December 2016)
4 January: Pegida UK is launched with Paul Weston (British Freedom Party and Liberty GB) announced as the new leader and Anne Marie Waters (UKIP and Sharia Watch) announced as the new chairperson. Ex-EDL leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon is also closely associated with the organisation. (Huffington Post, 4 January 2016)
6 January: Paul Golding, leader of Britain First, is found guilty of harassing a Muslim woman in Essex. He is fined £325 for harassment and £100 for wearing a political uniform, and is also given a two-year restraining order. (Essex Chronicle, 6 January 2016)
7 January: The Stephen Yaxley-Lennon-linked Pegida UK plan to hold a ‘silent march’ in Birmingham in February to a so far unidentified car-park, it is revealed, as its event is not allowed to take place in the city centre. (Birmingham Mail, 7 January 2016)
8 January: The British National Party is removed from the register of political parties by the Electoral Commission, meaning that it can no longer field candidates, after the party failed to confirm its registration details. (Huffington Post, 8 January 2016)
8 January: A survey of the French police and military finds that 51.5 per cent of respondents voted for the National Front (FN) in the 2015 regional elections, compared to 30 per cent in 2012. (Le Point, 8 January 2016)
11 January: German police arrest more than 200 far-right activists in Leipzig during an anti-refugee protest organised by Pegida, after they break away from the rally, setting cars on fire and smashing windows. (Guardian, 12 January 2016)
17 December: The Police and Crime Committee of the London Assembly publishes a report: Preventing extremism in London. Download the report here.
25 December: According to figures obtained by The Times, fewer than 10 per cent of referrals to the Prevent programme come from within the Muslim community. The bulk of tip-offs originate from public services, such as schools or doctors. (Guardian, 25 December 2015)
12 January: The charity Helping Households Under Great Stress (HHUGS) enters into discussions with its solicitors over a Daily Mail article which it says creates a ‘sensational story over administrative errors’. (Civil Society, 12 January 2016)
29 December: A Camden Blues restaurant is accused of racism after a group of black men is denied entry by a bouncer who allegedly claims ‘I thought because you were black you would like rap music’. (Independent, 30 December 2015)
13 January: The Equality and Human Rights Commission examines allegations that Butlin’s and Pontin’s are keeping secret ‘blacklists’ of Irish Traveller families, allowing staff to refuse them entry to their holiday camps. (Independent, 13 January 2016)
24 December: The Labour Party claims that homelessness is rising faster in groups from BAME communities. According to research by the Party, homelessness increased by 21 per cent and 33 per cent among black and Asian households respectively, compared with 7 per cent in the overall population. (Guardian, 24 December 2015)
11 January: The Traveller Movement publishes the report: Impact of insecure accommodation and the living environment on Gypsies’ and Travellers’ health. Download the report here.
11 January: A census carried out by the League of Human Rights and the European Roma Rights Centre reveals that over 11,000 Roma migrants were forcefully evicted in France in 2015. The charities denounce the situation for Roma migrants in France as ‘undignified, inhuman and degrading’. (European Roma Rights Centre, 12 January 2016)
6 January: Over 400 mosques, madrassas, teachers, imams and organisations nationwide reject government proposals to register mosques/madrassas under the guise of registering ‘out-of-school education settings’. (Rochdale Online, 6 January 2016)