Updated: Sunday, 18th November 2018 @ 8:20am

Exclusive: Mayor's office admits it has no idea how much it spends on reporting hate crime despite shocking rise in cases

Exclusive: Mayor's office admits it has no idea how much it spends on reporting hate crime despite shocking rise in cases

| By Jarrod Kay

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham does not know how much public money he is spending on hate crime reporting.

In a candid admission, Mr. Burnham’s office has told Mancunian Matters that they do not allocate budgets to Greater Manchester Police based on crime type.

This comes after Mr. Burnham commissioned a report into hate crime following the last year’s Arena attack.

In a survey conducted for that report, 65% of respondents said they had been a victim of hateful behaviour.

In the weeks after the Arena bombing, Greater Manchester Police reported a 130% rise in hate crime, including a 500% rise in Islamophobic hate crime.

MM spoke to the chief executive of a national charity, about the provisions for tackling hate crime in the region.

The charity boss, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I think people have no idea what it’s costing them to provide it.”

It seems that much of the Mayor’s focus has been on the setting up and maintaining of third party reporting centres (TPRCs).

These are places, other than police stations, such as public libraries that are equipped to receive and process hate crime reports.

Greater Manchester’s ‘Let’s end hate crime’ website indicates that the region has 139 TPRCs.

Academics from the University of Huddersfield have recently been testing a tool they have been involved in designing which evaluates the effectiveness TPRCs.

They conducted two pilots: one in a major northern conurbation (not Greater Manchester) and another in a significant southern location.

Kris Christmann, Research Fellow at the University of Huddersfield, confirmed that his data suggests the majority of TPRCs do not have the capability and capacity to deliver a fully effective service.

He said: “Many of the TPRCs we examined through the tool, and the wider literature, does reflect that [they are ineffective].”

The charity chief agreed with the assessment, saying: “It does lead you to thinking that most of them are a waste of money.”

Given that the Mayor is responsible for police and crime commissioning, it may come as a surprise to many that he allocates a budget of £553.9m to the police without specifying expenditure by crime type.

The Mayor’s office has confirmed that in addition to the GMP budget, the Deputy Mayor, Baroness Bev Hughes is responsible for the community safety fund.

This is distributed directly to local authorities for them to allocate to community safety work.

Mr. Burnham’s office confirmed there is also another pot which is allocated to local authorities to distribute to community safety projects and that this money ‘would obviously include some hate crime work’.

It is already on the public record that in April 2018, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) announced it had invested £2.8m in community safety (including hate crime) across the region.

So too is it known that Baroness Hughes subsequently allocated a further £1.1m to local authorities to support these community safety initiatives.

However, responses to MM’s recent enquiries suggest Baroness Hughes is no more able than the Mayor to state the figure currently being spent specifically on hate crime.

This is alarming for two reasons: firstly, hate crime is a serious matter that is on the increase. Secondly, it raises questions about the ability of the Mayor’s office to intelligently commission services.

Baroness Hughes said: “Hatred and prejudice have no place in Greater Manchester and we have done a lot of work to raise awareness and support victims.

“As a result Greater Manchester has one of the highest reporting rates of hate crime in the country.”

Recent reports confirm that police recorded a rise in hate crime targeted at people in England and Wales because of their religious beliefs.

According to the Home Office such crimes rose by 40%, from 5,949 in 2016-17 to 8,336 in 2017-18.

The total number of hate incidents reached a record 94,098 from April 2017 to March 2018 - a rise of 17% from the previous year.

A former senior public sector commissioning expert, who wishes to remain anonymous, slammed the overall commissioning process within Mr Burnham’s office.

He said: “It appears the Mayor’s office has some way to go in establishing an effective commissioning cycle.

“Commissioning must have some science behind it. It must be based upon empirical research and be scientifically evaluated.

“Most of all it must result in value for money, in the interests of the public purse.”

Commissioning is the process of buying services on the basis of identified need.

It should be based upon, for example, projections of increases or decreases in types of crime, in this case hate crime. This is known as a needs analysis.

Money should then be allocated according to projections across all crime types, such as drugs, violence, theft etc.

At the end of the commissioning cycle the Mayor should evaluate how effective the services he has invested in have been.

MM asked to see the hate crime needs analysis that we would expect the Mayor’s office to have conducted before allocating funds. This request received no response.

We asked the Mayor’s office to explain how his investment of funds into hate crime reporting is evaluated. This request received no response.

The Mayor’s police and crime plan, entitled ‘Standing Together,’ states: “Progress will be assessed through Greater Manchester and local meetings so that we can have a clear and consistent picture of improvement in all areas against each priority.”